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Rock Band sales drag at Viacom

Media giant blames MTV Games as first quarter ancillary results drop 7%

Viacom's first quarter financial results have seen a 7 per cent decrease in revenues at its ancillary division, due to lower sales of Rock Band music titles.

Sales dropped as much as 22 per cent in North America, during the three months ending March 31, 2010. Overall worldwide revenues fell to $195 million for the quarter.

With no new retail-based entries in the franchise since August 2009's The Beatles: Rock Band, the drop in revenues was largely expected. Standalone expansion Rock Band: Green Day is due for release in May, with full sequel Rock Band 3 expected sometime in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The fall in sales was offset by a reduction in development costs associated with the franchise, which helped to reduce operation expenses by $27 million.

Overall Viacom saw a 4 per cent decrease in sales to $2.79 billion. Profits were up 37 per cent to $243 million though, with growth in affiliate and advertising revenues more than offset by lower feature film revenues.

"Viacom is off to an excellent start this year, delivering a strong performance, including outstanding bottom-line results," said executive chairman Sumner Redstone.

"As the economy continues to strengthen, Viacom's operational and financial discipline and fervent focus on content should continue to produce increasingly significant benefits across all of our businesses," he added.

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