CBS and Viacom recently announced that they will be merging to form ViacomCBC. This news comes after years of talks, the two groups split in 2006. There were a series of stalled out negotiations but they have finally come to an agreement. The two groups are back together under the umbrella of their controlling group National Amusements. ViacomCBS, the newly formed media company is estimated to be worth $28bn.
CBS and Viacom Merge to Form ViacomCBS
The combined company will include a very broad portfolio of different media forms. It will include a broadcast network (CBS), a movie studio (Paramount), a premium cable network (Showtime), several basic cable networks (including MTV, Nickelodeon, Pop TV, Paramount Network, VH1, TV Land, BET and CMT) and a number of streaming services (including CBS All Access, Pluto TV, CBSN and the upcoming BET+). According to ViacomCBS, they will have the largest share of U.S. TV audience (22%) among all media companies. It will also be on top in all major U.S. demos, including the total audience, adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and kids 2-11.
VicacomCBS is hoping the newly merged scale will buoy its position in traditional TV. They hope to this by both providing more leverage when negotiating carriage fees and maintaining ad price levels while it figures out its next move. This next move most likely includes streaming. This merger will give the two companies scale at a time when most of their rivals have completed big mergers. Some of such companies include Disney-Fox, Discovery-Scripps and AT&T-TimeWarner (now WarnerMedia).
As you guessed there have been some rearrangement to the company’s leadership structure. The newly formed company will see Viacom president and CEO Bob Bakish leading the media company as its president and CEO. Joe Ianniello, who has been acting CBS CEO since Les Moonves exited the company, will become the chairman and CEO of CBS and oversee the CBS-branded assets in the combined company. CBS chief financial officer Christina Spade will continue in that role for the new company.
CBS and Viacom Speak on the Merger
Bob Bakish spoke on the merger with CBS. He talked about how they have united their complementary assets and capabilities to become one of only a few companies with the breadth and depth of content and reach to shape the future of the industry. He talked about their unique ability to produce premium and popular content for global audiences at scale. Bakish talked about producing premium and popular content for their own platforms and for their partners around the world. He stated that the merger will enable them to maximize their business for today while positioning them to lead for years to come.
Joe Ianniello also spoke about the merger. He stated that it brings an exciting new set of opportunities to both companies. He talked about how CBS has outstanding momentum creatively and operational, right now and how Viacom’s portfolio will help accelerate that progress. Ianniello stated that he looked forward to all the two companies will do together as they build on their ongoing success. He also mentioned that he is pleased on their focus on CBS’s top priority. This priority is continuing their transformation into a global, multiplatform, premium content company.