CBS-Viacom Merger Talks Set To Accelerate

Board members from CBS Corp. and Viacom are expected to meet as soon as this week to begin discussions on the valuations of both companies for a possible merger. Executives at both media companies have been hip-deep in crunching numbers and preparing financial data to guide the discussions between the members of the special committees assembled to consider options for a CBS-Viacom reunion.

Wall St. Not Sold On A CBS-Viacom Merger

Despite CBS’s relatively upbeat fourth-quarter results last week, the broadcaster’s stock slipped 2.4% on Friday, to $55.39. In fact, shares are down 5.8% since they initially popped on Jan. 12 on the first reports that it and Viacom were again talking merger.

Layoffs Underway At Viacom

Viacom has started another round of staff layoffs as part of its ongoing cost-cutting effort. The job cuts, which are expected to not reach triple digits, will be focused on support employees — so not those directly involved in content creation. The affected staff represents less than 1% of the company’s 10,000 employees.

CBS And Viacom To Study Merger

CBS and Viacom today announced that their respective boards of directors have established special committees to evaluate a potential combination. Both note that there can be no assurance that this process will result in a transaction or on what terms any transaction may occur.

CBS Board To Discuss Viacom Merger Today

CBS Corp.’s board is expected to discuss a merger with Viacom Inc. on Thursday, sources tell Reuters, a move that could begin a formal process to reunite the companies split by controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone more than a decade ago. The board will need to decide if the deal is now attractive enough to CBS shareholders to overshadow concerns that scuttled a proposed tie-up pushed by Redstone and his daughter Shari Redstone in 2016.

Viacom-CBS Plan Takes Shape Amid Tension

Shari Redstone faces a delicate negotiation with CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, who wants to be at the helm of the united company.

Redstone Explores Adding New CBS Directors

Shari Redstone, a controlling shareholder of CBS, has discussed adding new directors to the CBS board as she renews her push to merge the company with Viacom.,

Viacom-CBS Would Deliver Most Viewers

A merger of Viacom and CBS would lift the combined companies’ stats — earning more total viewership than all major TV-based companies. However, Viacom-CBS would still be behind in other areas, such as national TV advertising revenues and affiliate fees.

Viacom, CBS Stock Up Amid Merger Talk

Shares in Viacom and CBS jumped Friday after a report that the sibling media companies might be reunited once again. Such a move could give a lift to Viacom, which has been struggling to impress investors. But there are no signs of any imminent announcement. The Wrap reported shortly before the market closed on Friday that “Viacom and CBS vice-chairwoman Shari Redstone is pursuing a merger of the two media companies.” The story cited “multiple insiders.”

Viacom Acquires Whosay Ad Agency

Viacom Inc., the owner of MTV and Nickelodeon, said it has agreed to acquire influencer marketing shop Whosay Inc., joining the list of media companies investing in advertising services. It plans to use the shop to scale its branded content operation and generate incremental revenue.

 

BET Names New President, Lee Still CEO

Scott M. Mills assumes day-to-day responsibility for the Viacom cable network.

BET And Viacom Settle Discrimination Suit

Avid, Viacom In Production Infrastructure Deal

A multi-year agreement is designed to enable more flexible, scalable and virtualized production across Viacom’s premier entertainment brands, providing tools for greater efficiencies and creative collaboration, in addition to lower operational costs.

Viacom Picks Kelly Day To Lead New Digital Studio

Viacom Looks To U.S. Mobile Deals

Viacom Inc is trying a new tactic in its multi-front effort to win back younger U.S. viewers ditching expensive cable TV packages: seeking deals directly with mobile phone networks. Viacom already has mobile agreements in other countries. Now, it is in talks with U.S. carriers to see if it can execute a similar strategy, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish says.

Charter And Viacom Set New Carriage Deal

Spectrum cable TV subscribers won’t have to give up their MTV anytime soon, as Charter Communications and Viacom have seemingly avoided a carriage dispute that could have knocked several networks off the service while the companies hashed out their differences in the court of public opinion. “Viacom and Charter have reached an agreement in principle,” the two said Tuesday in a joint statement. “Spectrum subscribers will continue to have access to Viacom’s networks, without disruption, while we finalize terms.”

Viacom And Charter Extend Carriage Talks

Viacom and Charter Communications have agreed to a “short-term” extension of their carriage negotiations and will continue trying to reach a solution that will enable some 16.6 million customers to keep watching MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and many other networks.

Viacom Launches TV Ads In Charter Dispute

Viacom Inc., parent of networks including MTV and Nickelodeon, launched TV ads this week urging its viewers to call customer service at cable company Spectrum ahead of a deadline that may result in a blackout for 16.6 million customers.

Viacom Launches First BET Channel In Asia

Viacom, Freemantle Execs Talk Brexit

OTT Bundle In Works For Non-Sports Viewers

The Wall Street Journal reports that people who are tired of paying for TV sports channels they don’t watch will soon have a new option. Cable channels owned by Discovery Communications, Viacom, AMC Networks, A+E Networks and Scripps Networks Interactive will be part of a new streaming service expected to have a “soft launch” in coming weeks, people familiar with the situation say. Subscriptions will cost less than $20 a month. Journal subscribers can read the full story here.

Viacom Sees Stability But Stock Struggles

It has been one year since Shari Redstone, daughter of Sumner Redstone, prevailed in an epic battle for control of her father’s business empire. Since then, she has made some decisive moves, promoting Bob Bakish to CEO and bringing in Jim Gianopulos to revitalize her father’s beloved Paramount Pictures. But the stock price has not responded, and in fact has plunged another 30% since CEO Philippe Dauman’s departure on Aug. 20. As of Aug. 25, Viacom was trading below $30.

Some Nets Take Hit From Cutting Ad Time

TV giants like Turner and Viacom have been experimenting with cutting down the number of commercials they air in shows. They theorize that viewers will be happier, and they could even charge more for fewer ads, increasing revenue in the long run. But so far, there is no clear evidence of a financial payoff.

Viacom Out Of Chase For Scripps Networks

Viacom Inc. is no longer in the bidding for Scripps Networks Interactive, according to people familiar with the situation, leaving the owner of cable’s Food Network and HGTV to negotiate exclusively with Discovery Communications, the other media company pursuing a tie-up.

Sale Could Result In Ad Boon For Scripps

Whether its Viacom or Discovery that buys Scripps, the resulting media giant would be far better positioned to offer advertisers a compelling audience mix, more high quality programming under one roof, and advanced ad-targeting products, according to The Wall Street Journal. A Discovery-Scripps tie-up would create a must-buy network group for advertisers interested in targeting women. A Viacom deal could inject some of its ad-targeting prowess into Scripps’ business and offer advertisers programming reaching a broad range of demographics. WSJ subscribers can read the full story here.

Viacom Willing To Pay All Cash For Scripps

Viacom Inc. has informed Scripps Networks Interactive it is willing to pay all cash to acquire the U.S. TV network operator, sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. The move by Viacom, which had $12.17 billion in debt as of March 31, could potentially mean that the $14.3 billion media company would lose its investment-grade status to buy the $10.6 billion Scripps.

Viacom Considers Scripps Nets Acquisition

Since taking over as Viacom’s chief executive last year with the blessing of powerful shareholder Shari Redstone, Bob Bakish has been working to win over Wall Street with moves meant to stabilize the embattled entertainment giant. Now, The Wall Street Journal reports, Bakish is contemplating what would be his boldest bet yet: an acquisition of rival media outfit Scripps Networks Interactive. Members of the Scripps family are expected to meet Tuesday to discuss a potential sale, according to people familiar with the matter. WSJ subscribers can read the full story here.

Scripps Talks Are Advanced, Deal Seen Soon

Negotiations to acquire media company Scripps Networks Interactive are advanced and a deal could be announced as soon as this month, people familiar with the matter say. Both Discovery Communications and Viacom are vying to buy Scripps, and are likely to fund the deal with a mixture of cash and shares, the people say, asking not to be identified as the details aren’t public. No final decisions have been made and talks may still fall apart, they add.

Tyler Perry, Viacom Inks Mega Film-TV Deal

In one of the biggest talent deals under the new Viacom leadership, the company has signed a long-term pact with prolific writer, director, producer and actor Tyler Perry, which encompasses television, film and short- form video. Under the agreement, Perry will produce approximately 90 episodes annually of original drama and comedy series for BET and other Viacom networks.

CMT Chief Brian Philips Exits After 16 Years

His exit comes in the midst of a major shakeup among Viacom’s cable networks. A replacement is expected to be named soon, with Jayson Dinsmore, the cabler’s head of development, a top candidate for the position. Dinsmore has been with CMT since 2011 and is well-regarded among Viacom execs.

Moonves Subpoened In Redstone Legal Fight

CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves will be dragged into the legal drama surrounding Sumner Redstone after all, as a California judge switched gears after tentatively granting a motion to quash a subpoena served to him.

Why Shari Redstone Scuttled A CBS Merger

Media mogul Shari Redstone on Wednesday acknowledged the media landscape is increasingly challenged — but she believes she made the right call late last year when she decided not to merge the two media companies her family controls: Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. Instead, she wanted to give Viacom CEO Bob Bakish a chance to turn around the struggling media company, which owns Paramount Pictures and cable networks including MTV, Nickelodeon and BET.

Suddenlink Bringing Back Some Viacom Nets

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish has made it clear since day one on the job that rebuilding relationships with distributors is a top priority. That seems to have paid off with Suddenlink relaunching Viacom nets Thursday, nearly three years after dropping them in a heated, public fight.

Viacom: $10-$20 Bundle Coming This Year

Viacom is in advanced discussions with at least one MVPD to be part of a low-cost, entertainment-only channel package designed to help bring younger consumers into the pay TV ecosystem and to keep others from leaving.

Inside Fox, Turner & Viacom’s Strange Combo

With digital media encroaching on all sides, TV adversaries train their fire outward instead of at each other. It could be the start of something bigger.

Rumors Swirl As Viacom Plans BET Revamp

Viacom is restructuring BET, and it’s causing some industry insiders to speculate that longtime CEO Debra Lee may be on her way out the door.

Fired BET Exec Sues, Alleges Gender Bias

Zola Mashariki’s lawsuit claims that Black Entertainment Television, Viacom and its largely male leadership foster a climate in which women are systematically harassed and denied opportunities. Her suit filed Wednesday in federal court seeks an unspecified amount in compensatory and punitive damages for alleged losses including back pay and benefits.

Viacom Launching VOD Apps For Core Nets

Viacom is expanding its international Play Plex apps, which offer programming from its core networks, to the U.S. and other markets. The suite of apps, which are run by Viacom International Media Networks, includes Nickelodeon Play, Nick Jr. Play, MTV Play and Comedy Central Play.

New Paramount Net Hopes For ‘Event’ Ads

When Viacom’s Paramount Network formally launches early next year, executives want some of the commercials to be as can’t-miss as some of the series they expect to run. Among discussions being held with advertisers are running programs with limited commercials as well as getting first-run ads that have not been seen elsewhere, says Sean Moran, Viacom’s head of sales.

Viacom Names Julia Phelps Commications VP

Viacom named Julia Phelps as its senior vice president, communications and culture, a newly created role at the New York entertainment conglomerate, which controls Nickelodeon, MTV and the Paramount movie studio, among other assets.