Entertainment Industry

Category: Sumner Redstone

Viacom profit up 56%, boosted by higher cable fees

Viacom Inc.'s second-quarter profit soared 56%, thanks to higher fees from pay-television operators and lower expenses at the company's Paramount Pictures movie studio.

For the quarter ended March 31, Viacom earned $585 million, or $1.07 per share, up from $376 million, or 63 cents a share, in the same period in 2011. Revenue grew 2% to $3.33 billion.

"Across our divisions we sharpened our focus on execution and efficiency while continuing to invest in programming that connects with audiences worldwide," Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman told analysts in a Thursday morning conference call.  "Distribution continues to be a strong and steady driver for Viacom."

The New York-based media company's earnings exceeded analysts' estimates while revenue was largely within expectations. The company, controlled by billionaire Sumner Redstone, also spent about $700 million during the quarter to repurchase 14.7 million shares.

The bulk of the company's earnings came from its Media Networks unit, which includes cable channels MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, VH1 and TV Land.  Revenue generated by cable channels grew 5% to $2.2 billion, driven by an increase in affiliate fees paid by cable and satellite television operators.  Affiliate fee revenue was up 17%. 

Media networks' operating income climbed 11% to $893 million. Domestic advertising revenue inched up 1%, while foreign advertising revenue remained flat. 

"We are seeing encouraging signs of a strengthening ad market," Dauman noted.

At the Los Angeles-based Paramount Pictures, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, revenue dropped 5% to $1.17 billion.  The company attributed the lower revenue to a "less widely distributed mix of releases during the quarter," which included the highly profitable "The Devil Inside" and DreamWorks Pictures'  Eddie Murphy vehicle, "A Thousand Words," which flopped.

Theatrical revenue was down 19% to $326 million for the quarter.  The division was helped during the quarter by carry-over receipts from "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol," with Tom Cruise, which was released in the previous quarter.

Operating income at the film studio nearly tripled to $115 million, up from $39 million in the year-earlier period. The company said the studio's higher margin came from lower distribution costs.

"We are being disciplined in managing our expenses," Chief Operating Officer Thomas Dooley told the analysts.  


Sumner Redstone at Global Conference:  "Take risks"

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Photo:  Eddie Murphy plays a cad named Jack in the DreamWorks comedy "A Thousand Words," released during the first quarter by Paramount Pictures.   Credit: Bruce McBroom / DreamWorks Pictures


Sumner Redstone at Global Conference: "Take risks"

Sumner Redstone

Sumner Redstone has a regret.

His father, Michael “Mickey” Redstone, didn’t live to see his son’s unqualified success in the business world. Sumner Redstone -- who controls two of the world’s preeminent media companies, Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. -- has memories of his father that were etched during the Depression when the family lived in a West Boston tenement. 

 “I can remember him carrying rolls of linoleum on his back,” Redstone said Wednesday during an appearance at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills.  “He believed in hard work.  He had to work hard, and I had to work hard.” 

The title of the Global Conference session was “What it Means to be an Entrepreneur: A conversation with Sumner Redstone.” Redstone was interviewed by Michael Milken, and the two men hadn’t gotten too far into their dialogue when Redstone groused that more than a quarter of a century ago, Milken charged him “an extra quarter-percent interest” on a loan that Redstone took out to begin building his empire.  

Redstone still seemed peeved. “I’ve been paying for it ever since,” Milken lamented.

The legacy of Redstone -- who is three weeks shy of his 89th birthday --- has been written by many, including by Redstone himself. And, on Wednesday, Redstone told his story again to a standing room crowd in a small conference room at the Beverly Hilton. 

The secret to success, the mogul said, was: “You have to be in control of your destiny.  You can’t work for anyone else.  It’s not about money, it’s about winning.  You have to have a passion to win.”  (That’s also the title of Redstone’s 2001 autobiography.)

“I’ve taken some perilous risks. But I never took them unless I was confident that the rewards far outweighed the risk,” Redstone said.   

Perhaps his biggest risk was the hostile corporate take-over, in 1987, of Viacom Inc., then a cable television company with some puny channels named MTV and Nickelodeon.  Investment bankers wanted Redstone to sell the channels to pay down debt. Redstone refused.

Now MTV and Nickelodeon are Viacom's financial engines.

“My father, he always thought I was taking too big of a risk on Viacom.  He said, 'You’re betting your life on Viacom.'  I told him that I wanted to,” Redstone told the group.  “Unfortunately, he never lived to see the success of Viacom.”

Viacom now is valued at $27 billion. (CBS, Redstone's other company, has a $22-billion market cap.)

“I saw that content was king; I coined that phrase decades ago,” Redstone told Milken and the group, which included CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves; Mel Karmazin, chief executive of Sirius XM Radio Inc. and former chief operating officer of Viacom; CBS board member Arnold Kopelson; movie producer Robert Evans; music producer Quincy Jones; and former CBS personality Mary Hart. 

Milken asked Redstone how he judged talent in the executive suite, although Milken didn’t mention the gallery of executives that Redstone, over the years, booted to the curb (including Karmazin in 2004). 

Milken did mention one piece of talent.  Tom Cruise, one of the most bankable stars ever for Viacom’s movie studio, Paramount Pictures, was dismissed by Redstone in 2006.  “His behavior was terrible; he was jumping on couches,” Redstone said. “Women hated him, a lot of people said they would never come to see another one of his movies. And he made $10 million on the Paramount lot for doing nothing!”

But a few years later, Redstone said, Cruise told him that he wanted to make pictures for Paramount again. Redstone said he said yes, but also told Cruise, “You won’t get the same deal.”

“Today he’s one of my best friends,” Redstone said. “I’ve been for dinner to the house that he shares with his wife, Katie. And today, 'Mission Impossible' is grossing more than any other 'Mission Impossible' before it.  It's on track to gross $700 million. People came back to the movies to see him.” 

These days, Redstone has trouble getting around so he doesn't get out as much as he used to.  But he said he watches a lot of golf on TV (“Tiger [Woods] will never make it again. He’s done,” Redstone predicted).  Redstone also oversees his tanks full of exotic fish in his Beverly Park home.  

“When you look at the fish, you relax.  When you look at the fish, your blood pressure goes down,” Redstone said, adding that despite being worth nearly $4.5 billion, he still has stress in his life.

Milken and Redstone often discuss healthy diets, Milken said. 

“I eat and drink every antioxidant known to man, and I also drink red wine every night," Redstone said "It, fortunately, prevents aging so it is of particular interest to me.”


Star sightings and Leslie Moonves at Sumner Redstone star ceremony

CBS' Chief Leslie Moonves collected $70 million last year

Sumner Redstone receives Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Sumner Redstone attends Viacom shareholders meeting

-- Meg James  

Photo: Sumner Redstone poses with his Hollywood Walk of Fame star. Credit: Paul Buck / EPA



CBS reports 12% higher revenue in first quarter

CBS Corp. reported solid earnings Tuesday on higher revenue and advertising sales.

The New York-based broadcasting company reported net earnings of $363 million, or 54 cents per diluted share, up from $202 million, or 29 cents per diluted share, over the year earlier period. The higher margin came from growth in operating income as well as lower weighted average shares as a result of the company's stock repurchase program.

For the quarter ended March 31, the broadcasting company reported revenue of $3.92 billion, an increase of 12% from the first quarter of 2011. CBS attributed the increase to content licensing and higher distribution fees. Advertising revenue was up 5%.

Investors have been expecting CBS to post a strong year -- lifted by hundreds of millions of dollars in political spending expected to flood its TV stations and fees paid by cable and satellite providers for the retransmission of CBS' broadcast signal. The company also is collecting millions in fees paid by online distributors, including Netflix.

CBS shares closed Tuesday at $33.42, up 4 cents.  The shares are trading 33% higher than last year at this time.

CBS owns its flagship CBS television network, which broadcasts such shows as "NCIS," "Survivor" and "Two and a Half Men," television and radio stations, a billboard unit, premium cable channel Showtime, and the Simon & Schuster publishing house.

CBS is expected to discuss its results in an earnings call with analysts later this afternoon.


CBS' chief Leslie Moonves collected nearly $70 million last year

Star sightings and Leslie Moonves at Sumner Redstone star ceremony

CBS' Moonves: political rancor boosts the broadcast TV business

-- Meg James

Photo: CBS corporate logo.  Credit: CBS Corp.

CBS Chief Leslie Moonves collected nearly $70 million last year

Les Moonves

"Two Broke Girls" and one rich CEO.

CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves catapulted to the top of the media pay ladder in 2011 with a compensation package valued at $69.9 million, according to documents filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The 62-year-old executive's package jumped about 21% over the $57.7 million that he reaped in 2010, which included a $27.5-million bonus.

“CBS significantly outpaced the industry in 2011 in terms of shareholder return," the media company said in a statement. "In fact, the company is the second best performing stock in the entire S&P 500 since March of 2009... The vast majority of this year’s pay is once again keyed to performance-based measures, closely aligning the overall value of the compensation with that of the company’s shareholders.”

CBS stock has been on a tear, soaring 42% last year. The stock closed Friday at $32.50 a share, an eye-popping increase over the $4 a share that it was trading for in 2009, following the market collapse. Investors have bid up the stock, in part, due to the anticipation that CBS will rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in political advertising dollars this year as candidates and political action committees try to influence the outcome of elections.

The company's assets include the CBS broadcast network, home to such hit shows as "Two Broke Girls," "NCIS" and "Survivor," local TV and radio stations and billboards. CBS also owns premium pay cable channel Showtime and Simon & Schuster publishing house.

Sumner Redstone, the executive chairman of CBS Corp., received compensation of $20.3 million in 2011. That means the 88-year-old mogul, who has been slowing down in recent years, collected more than $41 million in 2011 for his executive position at CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc. (Redstone received $21 million as executive chairman of Viacom).

Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman made $43 million in 2011, considerably less than his 2010 package of $84.5 million.

Viacom and CBS traditionally lead the media pack because of the dual-stock structure of the two companies. Redstone controls nearly 80% of the voting stock, making it difficult for other shareholders to mount a successful protest over governance issues, including executive compensation.

Though not in the same stratosphere of Apple Inc.’s new chief executive, Tim Cook, whose compensation totaled $378 million in 2011, Moonves’ pay still is considerably higher than his peers in the media world. 

For example, Moonves received more than twice that of Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger, who collected $31.4 million in fiscal 2011, and nearly three times the amount of Time Warner Chief Executive Jeffrey Bewkes, who took in $25.9 million.  Both Disney and Time Warner are much larger than CBS.

News Corp.’s Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch raked in $33.3 million in 2011 running his global empire.  Discovery Communications Chief Executive David Zaslav collected a package valued at $52.4 million last year.


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Photo: CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves. Credit: Peter Foley / Bloomberg

Star sightings and Leslie Moonves at Sumner Redstone ceremony


Two sides of Hollywood were on display Friday as billionaire Sumner Redstone, executive chairman of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Clustered outside the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel were the industry's power brokers, all in suits: Redstone; CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves; Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman; Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey and Vice Chairman Rob Moore; producer Brian Grazer; Viacom Chief Operating Officer Thomas Dooley and Entertainment Group President Doug Herzog, who oversees Comedy Central; and Cyma Zarghami, the head of children's channel Nickelodeon.

JulieChenAnother Hollywood contingent was there too: about 200 stargazers, many of whom began gathering more than an hour before the ceremony. They milled about in the street, separated from the power crowd by metal barriers.

"There's Julie Chen!" shouted one of the fans when the star of CBS' daytime talk show, "The Talk," strode into view.

"It is Julie Chen!" chimed in another fan, 20-year-old Jeremiah Miller, who lives in Hollywood and frequents the star-unveiling ceremonies. 

"Who's the guy in the gray suit next to Julie Chen?" Miller asked.

A reporter said the gray-suited man was Leslie Moonves, one of television's biggest titans -- as well as Chen's husband.

"Oh," Miller said, then turning to the other spectators:  "He runs CBS."

"I always hate the ceremonies where I never know people's names," Miller said. "You know who I would really like to see?  George Lopez."


Sumner Redstone receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Sumner Redstone attends Viacom's shareholders' meeting

Viacom executives again among America's highest paid

-- Meg James 

Top photo: Viacom and CBS Chairman Sumner Redstone, seated, received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Behind him from left: Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman, Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey and CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves.  Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images 

Bottom photo:  Julie Chen. Credit: John P. Filo / CBS

Sumner Redstone receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

  Sumner Redstone, the 88-year-old billionaire chairman of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Just outside the doors to stately Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, where the first Oscar ceremony was held, Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. Chairman Sumner Redstone was indelibly etched in entertainment history on Friday when he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The aging mogul's family members, a coterie of some of Hollywood's most powerful executives, and nearly 200 star-gazers were on hand to witness the tribute.

Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman compared Redstone to Adolph Zukor, the visionary New York nickelodeon owner who became one of the first people to make big money in the movie business. It was Zukor who founded Paramount Pictures 100 years ago.

WALK OF FAME: Sumner Redstone's star

Redstone now controls the famed Paramount film studio, among such other assets as CBS television, MTV, BET, Comedy Central and children's channel Nickelodeon.

"Sumner -- the King of Content -- is without a doubt an elemental force of nature, and I can personally attest to that," Dauman said. He noted that Redstone's gold-rimmed star was appropriately located next to that of another lion of entertainment, the late former president of the Motion Picture Assn. of America, Jack Valenti.

"Sumner, like you, your star will be around for a long, long, long, long time," Dauman said.

The 88-year-old Redstone, sitting next to the podium on a red-carpeted stage, half-heartedly shrugged.

One of the country's richest men, Redstone began his career as a lawyer and then ran his father's regional theater chain before going on to assemble one of the biggest media empires in the world. On Friday, he seemed to be reflecting on the totality of his life, and the fragile nature of success.

"From my tenement in which I lived as a child, built on a cobblestone, dirty street in the west end of Boston, I am now successful. But I must tell you, though, that my global businesses at Viacom and CBS at times have been in peril," Redstone said.  "But now I find myself on this wonderful event on the sidewalks of New York with this star. I must tell you the trip, the journey, from living in that tenement to this marvelous event was torturous, hard, sometimes it was difficult, but it was always exciting and always rewarding. I want to thank everyone for this star, thank you for this honor and for your presence." 

Redstone then glanced over to where his family was seated -- his daughter Shari Redstone, her three children, and a grandchild. "I want you know that it means a great deal to me that they are here to share this day and this event with me," he said.

Redstone was in Hollywood, not New York, and at times he was a little unsteady on his feet.  He has been slowing down in recent years as mobility has become an issue. He lives above Beverly Hills, though he is the controlling chairman of two New York-based media companies. His companies have created popular movies, including "Forrest Gump" and "Mission: Impossible," and own TV networks that boast such well-known programs as “60 Minutes,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Late Show with David Letterman,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Dora the Explorer” and “Jersey Shore.”

Also in attendance were Leslie Moonves, chief executive of CBS; his wife, TV personality Julie Chen; Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey, Paramount Pictures Vice Chairman Rob Moore; Viacom Entertainment Group President Doug Herzog; Viacom Chief Operating Officer Thomas Dooley; Nickelodeon President Cyma Zarghami;and such notable movie producers as Brian Grazer, A.C. Lyles, Robert Evans and Arnold Kopelson.


Sumner Redstone attends Viacom shareholder's meeting

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Photo: Hollywood Chamber of Commerce officials unveil a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Sumner Redstone, seated, during a ceremony Friday in Los Angeles. Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman stands slightly behind Redstone.  Credit: Christina House / For The Times


Sumner Redstone attends Viacom shareholders' meeting

Sumner Redstone Arrives Oscars

Who is the man behind the curtain at Viacom? Sumner Redstone, of course.

After much speculation about the health of the company's 88-year-old chairman, Viacom Inc. opened its annual shareholders meeting Thursday morning in New York by dramatically parting a curtain for the big reveal: the ginger-haired Redstone on stage, sitting at a table along with two other senior Viacom executives — Chief Executive Philippe Dauman and General Counsel Michael Fricklas.

Last week, Redstone — who lives in Los Angeles — made headlines after deciding not to fly across the country to attend the annual session with shareholders in New York. A company spokesman initially said that Redstone — who controls nearly 80% of Viacom's voting shares — had an "unavoidable conflict" that would prevent his attendance. Media reports about Redstone's decision to skip the meeting prompted inquiries from shareholders, leading Redstone to make the trip after all.

"To paraphrase my very good friend Mark Twain, who couldn't be here with us today ... reports of my absence from this meeting have been greatly exaggerated," Redstone said to open the meeting, after the curtain parted, according to a Viacom executive in attendance.

Redstone in recent years has been cutting back on public appearances as his mobility has become an issue. The mogul, who will turn 89 this spring, attended last month's 84th Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood, and plans to participate in the festivities on Hollywood Boulevard when he receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame later this month.

He also kicks off every Viacom and CBS Corp. (which Redstone also controls) quarterly earnings call with Wall Street analysts, via speaker phone, by boasting about Viacom and CBS' sunny futures and how much he adores his two handpicked lieutenants, Viacom's Dauman and CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves.

About 30 investors attended Viacom's meeting Thursday, along with about 90 Viacom employees. Two investors asked questions. One shareholder wanted to know whether Viacom's Hollywood movie studio, Paramount Pictures, was still in business with Steven Spielberg. Viacom's Dauman said "yes," noting that the celebrated director was an executive producer of the "Transformers" movies.

Another shareholder, an older woman, said that she thought the actor Timothy Olyphant ("Justified") was "very hot" and that he should appear in Paramount's movies.  

Instead, Katy Perry will star this summer in a 3-D concert movie called "Katy Perry: Part of Me," Dauman announced at the meeting.

"Across our divisions, we strengthened our operational efficiency while continuing to invest in programming and films that resonate with audiences around the world," Dauman said. "On the eve of its 100th birthday, Paramount Pictures finished the 2011 calendar year as the No. 1 studio at the domestic box office. The studio captured the top spot thanks to an unprecedented run of highly successful films, including an industry-leading six consecutive films that earned $100 million or more in U.S. theaters."

At the end of the 45-minute meeting, the curtain closed, preventing spectators from witnessing Redstone's departure.

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Redstone to skip Viacom meeting; but will get a Walk of Fame star

Viacom's executives again among America's highest paid

— Meg James

Photo: Sumner Redstone, center, arrives at the 84th Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood on Feb. 26. Credit:  Paul Buck / European Pressphoto Agency

Sumner Redstone to attend Viacom meeting after all

Sumner Redstone at the Academy Awards

Viacom Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone has decided he's not too busy to attend his media company's annual shareholders meeting after all.

On Friday, just 24 hours after Viacom said Redstone had an "unavoidable conflict" that would prevent his traveling to New York to preside over next week's meeting, the octogenarian apparently had a change of heart.

"Mr. Redstone very much wanted to attend the Viacom annual meeting. He was able to change his commitment and will participate in person at the meeting," Viacom spokesman Carl Folta said late Friday in a statement. 

Folta declined to identify Redstone's now-averted "unavoidable conflict."

Thursday's news of Redstone's planned absence from the shareholders meeting raised questions in the investment community about the aging media mogul's health. The billionaire, who lives in Los Angeles and turns 89 in May, has been limiting his travel in recent years.

Viacom annual meetings typically are sparsely attended affairs, primarily because Redstone owns nearly 80% of the voting stock. But Redstone has not been one to miss the gatherings.

Viacom's widely traded B shares closed Friday at $48.48 a share, down 35 cents. Viacom A shares, which are the preferred voting shares, continue to rise in value above the price of the non-voting shares, in part because some investors anticipate an eventual change in control. Viacom A shares closed Friday at $54.22, down 29 cents.

Redstone, who collected $21 million last year in executive compensation from Viacom, also is the controlling shareholder of CBS.  Last year he attended both the Viacom and CBS annual shareholder meetings.

He appeared with his grandson at the Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood on Sunday. Redstone also plans to partake in the festivities when he receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this month.


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Photo: Viacom Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone at the Academy Awards on Sunday in Hollywood. Credit: Paul Buck / European Pressphoto Agency

Redstone to skip Viacom meeting; but will get a Walk of Fame star

Viacom Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone won't be attending his company's annual shareholders' meeting in New York next week. However, later this month, he will be staking out a spot on Hollywood Boulevard.

Redstone will be at the center of attention on March 30 when he receives his own star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. He will join the ranks of other past and present media moguls with their names forever emblazoned on the legendary Hollywood stretch including Ted Turner, Michael Eisner, Louis B. Mayer and Darryl Zanuck.

Redstone, the 88-year-old controlling shareholder of both Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., has been making fewer public appearances in recent years. However, he did attend the 84th Academy Awards last Sunday, an event also staged on Hollywood Boulevard, about 8 miles from his home in the gated enclave of Beverly Park.

But he is not planning to make the cross-country trip to New York to attend next week's shareholders meeting, marking the first time in memory that Redstone will miss Viacom's annual gathering. Redstone's absence will be due to an "unavoidable conflict," Viacom spokesman Carl Folta said Thursday, declining to elaborate on the reason.

Instead, the man who once roared that "Viacom is me" will address shareholders in a videotaped message. Redstone's conflict, according to Folta, was "not health related." 

Even though Redstone won't be there in person, he still will control the show. Redstone holds nearly 80% of Viacom's voting shares, so it is a safe bet that he will cast the votes necessary to retain his seat as executive chairman. In Viacom's most recent fiscal year, Redstone raked in $21 million in executive compensation — about $6 million more than he received in 2010.

Viacom includes such assets as MTV, VH-1, Comedy Central, BET, TV Land and the Hollywood-based movie studio Paramount Pictures.


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Photo: Sumner Redstone, center, arrives at the 84th Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood on Feb. 26. Credit:  Paul Buck / European Pressphoto Agency

Viacom executives again among America's highest paid


Billionaire Sumner Redstone got a 39% boost in compensation last year in his role as executive chairman of Viacom Inc. The 88-year-old media mogul and his top two lieutenants together collected compensation packages in 2011 totaling nearly $100 million.

Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman was awarded $43 million in salary, stock and other benefits, according to the company's proxy filed late Friday with the Securities & Exchange Commission. While still sizable, Dauman's compensation was considerably less (a 49% decrease) than in the previous year when he earned the distinction of being the highest-paid executive in corporate America with a package totaling $84.5 million.

Viacom's second in command, Chief Operating Officer Thomas Dooley, collected $34 million -- an amount that exceeds the pay package of Robert Iger, chief executive of the much larger Walt Disney Co. Iger received a total package of $33.4 million in 2011.

Executives of Viacom, which owns MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures, have long been among the highest paid in the media industry. The compensation awarded to Dauman and Dooley spiked in 2010 when the two executives signed new employment agreements and received generous one-time stock awards. Dooley's 2010 package was $64.7 million.

Redstone was awarded $21 million in 2011. That was nearly $6 million more than in the previous year when his Viacom compensation was $15 million. Viacom included 12 months in the compensation calculation last year, whereas 2010 was based on a nine-month period.

"Those are big numbers," said corporate governance expert Charles Elson. "Viacom seems to be paying their executives entrepreneurial returns rather than managerial wages to run an established company with long-term assets. There seems to be a disconnect there."

Viacom defended the compensation.

"Almost 90% of our senior executive compensation is performance or equity based, which aligns their interests with those of our stockholders," Viacom said in a statement. "Their 2011 compensation reflects achievement in outstanding operational results, including double-digit growth in operating income and adjusted net earnings and a significant outperformance of the S&P 500."

Viacom's common stock increased nearly 9% last year.


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Photo: Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman and Chairman Sumner Redstone in Beverly Hills in 2007.  Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times



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