Sunday , May 28 2023

CBS and Viacom meet to create a global entertainment giant


To better address the growing competition from platforms like Netflix and soon Disney +, the Viacom and CBS groups have finally decided to merge to create a media giant led by CBS, MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount Studios.

Called ViacomCBS, the new company will have an estimated $ 28 billion and a share value of about $ 30 billion.

The accompaniment comes at a time when the US audiovisual landscape is radically changing, the "traditional" actors (TVs, studios, operators) have to face the rise of online video platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Apple TV.

In the face of their new business model, without advertising but subscription, and their technological innovations, several groups have already felt the need to accelerate their bid to maintain their stature in the merciless jungle of American entertainment.

Telecommunications giant AT&T caught up with Time Warner (HBO, CNN, TBS and Warner Bros) while Comcast captured NBCUniversal.

Disney has bought most of 21 Century Fox for $ 71 billion and plans to launch its own Disney + platform in November.

In isolation, CBS and Viacom could be struggling to weigh in. To justify their merger, they also emphasize that together they will have an even greater financial capacity to invest in new content and new technologies.

In addition to their existing catalogs, more than 140,000 TV shows and 3,600 movies, they have spent $ 13 billion on new content over the last twelve months.

For the head of the new entity, Viacom's current CEO Bob Bakish, the combination of assets and capabilities of CBS and Viacom creates "one of the few companies with content and is reaching a large and varied form the future (of) sector" .

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ViacomCBS will be leading the first television group in the United States, by land or cable, as well as for Paramount movies and the Simon & Schuster publishing house. The merger also brings together several successful franchises such as the arrows of Star Trek and Mission Impossible.

The group will also manage major branches in the UK, Argentina and Australia, as well as cable channels in more than 180 countries.

The two entities come together after more than a decade of separation, this operation reconstituting an entity that existed until 2006, before the holding holding the two groups, about 80%, National Amusements, decided to separate.

The daughter of National Entertainment founder founder Summer Redstone Media, Shari Redstone, will be the chairman of the board.

The reunion will not be without success, the two groups have already successfully failed several attempts at appropriation. Former CBS boss Leslie Moonves has long opposed the merger that Ms. Redstone wanted, the fight is sometimes played out in court.

However, Moonves was expelled last September on charges of sexual abuse.

The merger is expected to be completed by the end of 2019 if it gets the green light from the concerned authorities, especially from the competition.

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