Viacom more than triples earnings in Q4

MTV owner Viacom's profits more than tripled in the fourth quarter following the addition of the DreamWorks studio last year, which swung its movie business to a profit, an Associated Press report said.

The report said Viacom, which also owns BET, VH1 and several other cable channels, said it earned $480.8 million, in the October-December period versus $129.5 million, in the same period a year ago.

Viacom also reported a lower tax bill and had accounting adjustments to its year-ago figures following its split-off from CBS, the Associated Press report further said.

On a comparable basis, Viacom's operating income increased 28% to $855.6 million from $669.6 million a year earlier, the report said.

The improvement was largely due to its movie business, which earned $86.3 million in the quarter versus a loss in the year-ago period of $39.6 million, the report added.

Viacom recently signed a deal with a startup company called Joost to distribute programming from its cable networks online, shortly after demanding that the Google-owned video sharing site YouTube take down more than 100,000 unauthorized clips from Viacom-owned properties, the report said.

Like other media companies, Viacom is trying hard to find ways to get its programming distributed online in a legal and controlled way that it can profit from, rather than seeing unauthorized clips show up on Web sites, the report added.