Far exceeding analysts' expectations, earnings at Viacom, whose assets include Paramount Studios, MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, and Comedy Central, rose 56 percent in its second quarter to $585 million versus $376 million during the comparable period a year ago. The solid results came despite the lackluster performance of most of its Paramount releases and ratings softness at MTV and Nickelodeon channels. However, the move to digital distribution of its movies offset much of the downturn in ticket sales, and increases in fees that it receives from cable companies offset virtually flat revenue from advertising at its cable networks. The strong results were reported just one day after CBS Corp., which like Viacom is controlled by Sumner Redstone's National Amusements, similarly reported higher-than-expected earnings. Redstone is chairman of both companies.