Viacom, whose media companies include Nickelodeon and the MTV and Turner cable channels as well as Paramount Pictures, said today (Thursday) that its profit plunged 65 percent in the last quarter, attributing The Fall to a one-time $379-million charge to cover an arbitration award to shareholders of "Rock Band" videogame maker Harmonix. Excluding the Harmonix payout, the company's earnings were down 5 percent. The company was stung during the quarter by a sharp drop in ratings -- still unexplained -- for its Nickelodeon kids channel. "If we hadn't had the Nickelodeon ratings issues, our advertising sales would have been a growth for the quarter," Viacom chief Philippe Dauman said.

02/02/2012