MediaFile

Viacom rocks with Rock Band

May 2, 2008

Viacom Chairman Redstone holds $20 bill out to photographers as he poses with wife Fortunato at 80th annual Academy Awards in HollywoodYoutube video we wish existed: Sumner Redstone rocking out on “Rock Band” to the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” or Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.”

In the meantime we can assume that Viacom’s octogenarian executive chairman is rockin’ today after the media conglomerate said its first quarter profit rose 33 percent on strong sales of the “Rock Band” video game and higher advertising revenue at MTV Networks. Revenue rose 15 percent to $3.1 billion, beating analysts’ estimate of $3 billion.

It gets even better in the Viacom executive suite, at least for today — its film “Iron Man” kicks off the summer blockbuster season to positive reviews, including that of tough Wall Street Journal reviewer Joe Morgenstern who said it had “exhilarating” action and “scintillating” comedy.

Industry gurus suggest the opening box-office take could top $100 million. Ka-ching! (It cost $135 milion to make.)

The good news does not negate lingering issues at Viacom, namely the resiliency of its cable networks in an advertising Rock Bandenvironment that is challenging at best. Also, everyone wants to know more about the new premium cable/VOD enterprise being built by Viacom, MGM and Lionsgate.

Or, what about the risk of collapsing the distribution window so that Apple’s iTunes sells movies on a DVD’s release date?

I just want to know: would Redstone rather jam to David Bowie or Blue Oyster Cult?

(Reuters)

Keep an eye on:

  • Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer says the company poised to detail its next moves on Yahoo (Reuters)
  • A night after Tuesday’s much-discussed on-air blunder by “American Idol” judge Paula Abdul, the results show of the talent show lost 1.2 million viewers from the previous week. (Hollywood Reporter)
  • Is Microsoft working on a Blu-ray player for the Xbox 360? (Engadget)

(Photos: Sumner Redstone and wife Paula Fortunato, Reuters; www.rockband.com)

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