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Viacom Profit Rises on 'Rock Band,' MTV Networks

Viacom said Friday quarterly net profit rose 33 percent, beating Wall Street forecasts, on strong sales of "Rock Band" video game and higher advertising revenue at MTV Networks.

The New York-based owner of Nickelodeon and Paramount movie studios said first-quarter profit rose to $270 million, or 42 cents per share, from $203 million, or a 29 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding a non-cash impairment charge of 2 cents per share for a minority investment, Viacom earned 44 cents per share, ahead of Wall Street forecasts of 41 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue rose 15 percent to $3.1 billion, beating analysts' estimate of $3 billion.

Shares of Viacom have slipped 13 percent since the beginning of the year as investors bid the sector lower on concerns the credit crisis will lead to an advertising recession.

Global advertising revenue rose 8 percent to $1.05 billion, and domestic ad revenue rose 7 percent.

Revenue at its movie studios rose 12 percent to $1.15 billion, boosted by $29 million in connection with its arrangement to release next generation movies in the HD-DVD format, which lost out to Blu-ray.

But worldwide box office revenue fell 7 percent on lower ticket sales, dragged down by "How She Moves" and "The Eye." Viacom reaffirmed its forecast for 2008 through 2010, of low double-digit annual growth in earnings per share from continuing operations.