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Viacom turns the corner on its ad slump

(Reuters) - Viacom Inc reported a 6 percent drop in revenue because of a weak slate of movies from its studio Paramount Pictures, but advertising revenue turned positive during the quarter.

The company said for the quarter that ended March 31, revenue was $3.14 billion, slightly lower than analysts' expectations of $3.19 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

But its cable network properties, which include MTV and Nickelodeon, were climbing out of a slump as advertising revenue rose 2 percent in the United States.

Viacom has been struggling with a decline in TV ratings, which are the currency for commercials, that has been responsible for lower advertising sales. The more people watch a program, the higher the cost of the ad.

Last quarter, Viacom said ad revenue slipped 6 percent on weakness at Nickelodeon, its network that airs programming aimed at children.

Adjusted for special items, earnings per share were 96 cents, a penny ahead of expectations.

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Maureen Bavdek)

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