Media Landscape Shrinks as CBS and Viacom Merge

14 Août, 2019, 03:10 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • The Viacom office in Hollywood Calif

For advertisers and agencies, the combined company will provide industry-leading reach through a variety of formats, including a portfolio of differentiated advanced advertising and marketing solutions, such as CBS Interactive, Viacom Vantage and Viacom Velocity, which will be applied against significant, expanded inventory across the portfolio. The breadth and depth of the combined company's reach across both traditional and new platforms - including 22% of U.S. TV viewership - will drive important new distribution and advertising opportunities. The $6-a-month service now has a new "Star Trek" series, a revival of "The Twilight Zone" and archives of old and current broadcast shows. Walt Disney Co.in March bought most of 21st Century Fox in a deal valued at $52 billion, while AT&T in June completed its acquisition of Time Warner for $85 billion.

The all-stock deal will give CBS shareholders about 61% of the combined company and Viacom shareholders the rest.

"I am really excited to see these two great companies come together so that they can realise the incredible power of their combined assets", said Shari Redstone, who will chair the new company, ViacomCBS. Sure, the network may dominate the ratings now, but when streaming becomes the primary form of entertainment, will CBS All Access (or maybe even another newly-branded service that they've yet to launch) be able to not only compete, but thrive against rivals like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, HBO Max, the NBCUniversal streaming platform, Quibi, and Apple TV+? It is unlikely that CBS-Viacom could itself become an acquisition target, given how potential acquirers nearly all have their hands full with their own big purchases. CBS already had its CBS All Access streaming service and Showtime has its own subscription service as well, but The Verge says ViacomCBS "will be able to offer a library of more than 140,000 TV episodes and more than 3,600 movies", including the Transformers franchise. That's far less than the 60 million USA subscribers that Netflix has, though it's comparable with the estimated number of subscribers to HBO Now, that network's stand-alone streaming service.

CBS will receive six seats on the 13-member board, while Viacom gets four.

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Shari Redstone - who heads National Amusements, the majority shareholders of both CBS and Viacom - has been pushing for the companies to reunite for years.

Shari Redstone had been a big backer of re-combining the companies in the face of tough competition. Another two will go to National Amusements Inc., the Redstone family's investment company, which has said it will vote its controlling stake in favor of the deal. As it happened, CBS proved the more dynamic company under Les Moonves, then CEO and later chairman. A merger was adamantly opposed by Leslie Moonves, the former powerful chair of CBS who was brought down in a sexual harassment scandal a year ago.

Redstone will be chairwoman of the combined company's board. "We will establish a world-class, multiplatform media organisation that is well-positioned for growth in a rapidly transforming industry".

Viacom's stock rose 2.4% and CBS 1.4% in trading Tuesday, a reflection of Wall Street having anticipated this deal, especially in recent days.

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