The history of media conglomerate Viacom, under which umbrella includes a movie studio (Paramount Pictures) and pay TV networks (MTV, Nickelodeon and so on), is a somewhat complex tale in itself. The Viacom of today is not even actually the original, which was formed in 1952 as the syndication arm of CBS and was spun off as an independent company in 1971. It would then acquire CBS in 1999 via its then-parent company, only to become defunct as it split into the present-day Viacom and CBS Corporation by 2006. The two firms have been doing well on their own until this decade, when the rise of gigantic rivals have pushed them to come together again.
CNBC reports that Viacom and CBS Corporation have finally punctuated years of discussion by announcing that they will merge again into one corporate entity. The official statement was given this Tuesday, August 13, wherein Viacom and CBS will combine to form – rather plainly – ViacomCBS with Bob Bakish of Viacom becoming CEO of the resultant merger. In turn, CBS CEO Joe Ianiello will be bumped down to just chairman of the subsidized CBS network with oversight over all related assets under the combined Viacom CBS organization.
It is easy to understand the reasoning for that which had spun off from each other coming together again after just over a decade apart. That was in the decade before, and the 2010s media content landscape is a whole other animal. Other media giants like Disney, Comcast and AT&T/Verizon have assembled a plethora of subsidiary media companies to work together under their respective directional oversight, not to mention beginning to build up their own exclusive streaming platforms. It is thus a two-front war with the traditional media channels of Disney and streaming pioneers like Netflix and Amazon, something ViacomCBS combined can better compete with.
A statement by Shari Redstone, Vice Chairman of the Boards for both CBS and Viacom before merger, is hyped to see the two media companies reunited. “I am really excited to see these two great companies come together so that they can realize the incredible power of their combined assets,” she said, adding that the ViacomCBS machinery will be in a stronger position to generate more media content in this new age of entertainment options.
While CBS and Viacom had only just announced their merger, the actual process will take some time, as with the Disney acquisition of 20th Century Fox and its related assets. The deal is expected to be finalized by late 2019.
Image courtesy of The Playlist