Ad Sales, Networks Power Viacom's Earnings Beat

Profits at Comedy Central parent Viacom (NYSE:VIA) increased by 37% in its fiscal third quarter as the media company capitalized on stronger cable advertising and licensing revenue.

The New York-based owner of Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures said it earned $574 million, or 97 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $420 million, or 69 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, it earned 99 cents, topping the Streets view of 86 cents.

Revenue increased 15% to $3.77 billion, surpassing consensus calls for $3.52 billion.

Viacoms growth was driven by 14% increase in global ad revenue to $1.2 billion. Domestic ad revenue was nearly as strong, rising 12%.

At the same time, the company was lifted by a 16% jump in media networks revenue to $2.29 billion and a 13% rise in filmed entertainment revenue to $1.41 billion. Home entertainment soared 33% to $331 million, while theatrical revenue slipped 9% to $588 million.

"I am very pleased with Viacom's outstanding results.  Our strategic focus and consistent investment in creative content are continuing to drive our growth, Sumner Redstone, executive chairman of Viacom, said in a statement.