Viacom's profit surges Media titan Viacom surprised investors by reporting upbeat earnings on Thursday.

Viacom, which owns CBS Corp., said it benefited from an uptick in its television advertising division. The company said higher cable fees and box office receipts for the latest iteration of the popular "Transformer" movie series also helped to buttress revenue during its fourth fiscal quarter.

The company said its profits surged 33 percent from the same period in 2010, underscoring the strength of its lineup of media offerings. Company chairman Sumner Redstone, famed for his assertion that "content is king," affirmed efforts to achieve business cost reductions and the strength of its brand helped drive growth.

"Viacom's performance in fiscal 2011 once again illustrates the value of our focused strategy and strong leadership," he said. "Viacom's powerful brands are enhanced by operational and financial discipline, which continues to drive our results and build value for shareholders."

The New York Times reports analysts were largely enthusiastic about the company's quarterly earnings. Some had feared the tepid economic climate would contribute to lower revenue growth, but the positive report allayed their concerns.

Advertising revenue at Viacom's cable networks – of which Nickelodeon and Comedy Central are included – jumped by 7 percent. The strength of that sector, coupled with increased fees from its domestic and international affiliates, is helping augment the firm's profit margins.

"2011 was an outstanding year, highlighted by significant creative milestones, strong topline growth and expanded profitability across every division of Viacom. Creatively we are at the top of our game, powered by unique audience insights and connections, coupled with consistent investment in innovative programming at our marquee media networks, including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and BET," Viacom chief executive Philippe Dauman said.

Viacom's fiscal year ended on September 30, and the results represented its fourth quarter in the 2011 fiscal year. For the full year, revenue climbed 12 percent to $14.91 billion, operating income increased 13 percent to $3.85 billion and full-year net earnings surged 22 percent, hitting $2.25 billion.

Viacom's impressive earnings followed a robust report from industry competitor Time Warner. The companies are increasingly focusing their efforts on trimming business costs as they work to improve efficiency and drive future earnings growth.

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