Viacom Inc reported that profit in the first quarter rose 33 percent on strong sales of its Rock Band video game and higher revenues from its cable networks.

The New-York based company said its media networks sales grew 16 percent while filmed entertainment sales grew 12 percent.

Net income was $270 million, or 42 cents per share, compared to $203 million, or 29 cents per share a year ago. Excluding charges, it earned 44 cents per share, beating estimates of 41 cents per share, according to a poll of analysts by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue grew 15 percent to $3.12 billion, from $2.72 million a year ago, above estimates of $2.97 billion.

Shares of Viacom fell 8 cents, or 0.2 percent to $39.84 in mid-day trading on the New York Stock Exchange.


The company's Media networks revenues grew 16 percent to $2.02 billion from $1.73 billion a year ago, driven primarily by music video game Rock Band. Advertising on its cable networks also grew.

Sales of Rock Band,which launched strongly during the holiday shopping season, helped the network division's ancillary revenues rise 72 percent. It has already sold 3 million copies and continues to rise, the company said.

Worldwide advertising revenue in the networks division was driven by its networks including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and TV land.


In Viacom's Filmed Entertainment division, revenue grew 12 percent to $1.15 billion, from 1.02 billion a year ago, driven primarily by home entertainment sales. In the division, theatrical sales fell 7 percent to $247 million due to the performance of films released during the first quarter.


From 2008 to 2010, Viacom expects to deliver low double-digit annual growth in diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $2.36, an average of 78.6 cents per share each year.

During the quarter, Viacom repurchased 10.4 million shares for $414 million. The company has $2 billion remaining in its current $4 billion share repurchase program.

The company's debt outstanding grew to $8.61 billion as of May 1, compared with $8.25 billion on December 31, 2007.