Viacom profits fall 36% in first quarter

Viacom's earnings fell 36% in the first quarter, weighed down by higher marketing expenses for movies and a restructuring charge at its MTV group, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report, quoting the firm, added that the results still beat analysts' estimates.

Viacom, which is controlled by media mogul Sumner Redstone and split up from CBS a year ago, earned $202.9 million in the three months ended March 31, down from $317.2 million a year earlier, the report said.

In addition to MTV, Viacom also owns Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks, VH1 and BET.

Operating income fell 29% to $442.8 million from $623.5 million a year ago, weighed down by the restructuring charge at MTV Networks, and an increase of $170 million in advertising costs in the US at Viacom's movie division, the report said.

MTV Networks said in February that it was cutting 250 jobs, or about 6% of its workforce, in an effort to cut costs and build up its businesses online and in new networks.

In addition to MTV, the MTV Networks division also includes VH1, Comedy Central and Country Music Television, the report said.

Viacom is currently battling with Google's YouTube, the No. 1 video site on the Internet, claiming that the site is illegally displaying copyright-protected clips from popular Viacom-owned programs like Comedy Central's 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' and Nickelodeon's 'SpongeBob SquarePants,' the report further said.

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