Viacom Kicks Off The New Decade With Viable Strength

What do Leonardo DiCaprio, Steven Colbert, ‘Snooki,’ John Stewart, ICarly, ‘The Situation’ and Tom Cruise all have in common? They are all entertainers delivering eye-catching content under the Viacom Inc. (ticker: VIA-B) umbrella.

With more people at home (i.e. less people working), the entertainment content business is seeing a resurgence of ratings. Viacom’s Paramount Pictures recently released a Martin Scorsese thriller last weekend, “Shutter Island,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie delivered the best weekend debut ever for both the director and star actor, opening with $41.1 million in revenues.

In its most recent quarterly report, Viacom’s profit quadrupled year-over-year, surpassing Wall Street consensus estimates. Viacom Inc. earned $1.14 per share vs. $0.28 cents per share in the same quarter a year ago. Chief Executive Philippe Dauman recently said, “We do see growing signs of strength … the tone is clearly more positive.”

Viacom Inc. was receiving plenty of flack for the fledgling ratings at MTV until hit show ‘Jersey Shore’ came along. Ratings at MTV increased 20 percent in the first five weeks of 2010. Additionally, worldwide home entertainment revenue climbed 12 percent on robust DVD and Blu-ray sales of such titles as “Star Trek” and “Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.”

On a philanthropic note, Diddy, Queen Latifah, and Pharrell took the stage recently hosting a two-hour concert and telethon to benefit earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, titled “SOS Saving OurSelves — Help for Haiti” on Viacom’s BET, MTV and VH1.

After a short-lived separation, Tom Cruise re-unites with Viacom’s Paramount for Mission Impossible IV, a guaranteed blockbuster slated for release in 2011. So, continue to stay tuned to the star-studded and action-packed rise of Viacom.

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