Viacom, Inc.
Type Public company
Industry Media conglomerate
Predecessor Viacom (1971–2005)
Founded 1971 (1971) (Original Viacom founding)
2005 (2005) (current incarnation, as a result of the CBS/Viacom split)
Headquarters New York City, New York, United States
Area served Worldwide
Key people Sumner M. Redstone
(Executive Chairman)
Philippe P. Dauman
(President and CEO)
Revenue decrease US$ 9.34 billion (2010)[1]
Operating income increase US$ 2.21 billion (2010)[1]
Net income decrease 854 million (2010)[1]
Total assets increase US$ 22.96 billion (2010)[1]
Total equity increase US$ 9.258 billion (2010)[1]
Employees 10,900 (2010)[1]
Parent National Amusements (~80%)
Divisions MTV Networks
BET Networks
Paramount Pictures Corporation

Viacom Inc. (NYSEVIA) (NYSEVIAB)(NYSEVNV), short for "Video & Audio Communications", is an American media conglomerate with interests primarily in, but not limited to, cinema and cable television. As of 2010, it is the world's fourth-largest media conglomerate, behind The Walt Disney Company, Time Warner and News Corporation.[2][3][4][5]

The current Viacom was created on December 31, 2005 as a spinoff from CBS Corporation, which changed its name from Viacom to CBS at the same time. CBS, not Viacom, retains control of the over-the-air broadcasting, TV production, outdoor advertising, subscription pay television (Showtime) and publishing assets (Simon & Schuster) formerly owned by the larger company. However, National Amusements, through Sumner Redstone, retains majority control of Viacom. Predecessor firms of CBS Corporation include Gulf + Western, which later became Paramount Communications Inc., and Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

Comprising BET Networks, MTV Networks, and Paramount Pictures, Viacom connects with audiences through television, motion pictures, mobile platforms and online in more than 160 countries and territories. Viacom operates approximately 170 media networks reaching more than 600 million global subscribers and more than 500 branded digital media properties.[1]



The 1990-2006 logo of Viacom. It was used in tandem with the current logo, especially in the Paramount Pictures logo until 2010.

Early years

In March 2005, the prior Viacom announced plans of looking into splitting the company into two publicly traded companies. The company was not only dealing with a stagnating stock price, but also the rivalry between Leslie Moonves and Tom Freston, longtime heads of MTV Networks.

After the departure of Mel Karmazin in 2004, Sumner Redstone, who served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, decided to split the offices of President and Chief Operating Officer between Moonves and Freston. Redstone was set to retire in the near future, and a split was seen as a creative solution to the matter of replacing him. It was also intended to provide alternative investments that would be more appealing to different investors – one a high cash flow, lower growth company that could afford to pay a substantial dividend and the other a growing company that would have greater investment opportunities and therefore would not be expected to pay a dividend.[citation needed]

A new company, the present Viacom, was created and was headed by Freston. It comprises BET Networks, MTV Networks, and Paramount Pictures Corporation.


In June, Viacom announced its purchase of Neopets, a virtual pet website, along with GameTrailers, GoCityKids, and IFILM. That December, Paramount announced it would acquire DreamWorks. All indications are that the whole of DreamWorks—both live-comedy film and TV studios, albeit not the DreamWorks archive—which was sold to a group led by George Soros in March 2006 (nor the animated unit, which was not part of the deal) will remain owned by Viacom, even though CBS acquired Paramount's own TV studio.


On February 1, Paramount completed its long-awaited acquisition of DreamWorks. On April 24, Viacom obtained Xfire. In August, just hours before announcing its most recent quarterly earnings, Viacom announced that it had acquired Atom Entertainment for $200 million. In September, Viacom acquired game developer Harmonix for $175 million dollars.


In February, Viacom ordered leaked copyrighted video clips be taken off the videosharing service YouTube for copyright reasons. On February 21, Viacom publicly announced they would be offering free online access to their own material through Silicon Valley's distributor Joost thanks to a thorough content licensing deal.

On May 21, Viacom entered into a 50–50 joint venture with Indian media company Global Broadcast News to form Viacom-18 which will house Viacom's existing channels in India: MTV, VH1 and Nick as well as Network 18's Bollywood movie business. All future Viacom content for India and new ventures such as a Hindi entertainment channel and a Hindi movie channel would be housed in this joint venture.

On November 8, Viacom announced that MTV Tempo would be sold to founder and Viacom Deputy General Council Frederick Morton, Jr., becoming Tempo Networks.

On December 19, Viacom signed a five year, $500 million contract with Microsoft that included content sharing and advertisement. The deal allowed Microsoft to license many shows from Viacom owned cable television and film studios for use on Xbox Live and MSN. The deal also made Viacom a preferred publisher partner for casual game development and distribution through MSN and Windows. On the advertisement side of the deal, Microsoft's Atlas ad-serving division became the exclusive provider of previously unsold advertising inventory on Viacom owned web sites. Also, Microsoft purchased a large amount of advertising on Viacom owned broadcasts and online networks. Finally, Microsoft will also collaborate on promotions and sponsorships for MTV and BET award shows, two Viacom owned cable networks.


On December 4, three weeks before Christmas, Viacom announced layoffs of 850 personnel, or 7% of their workforce.[6] At the end of the year, Time Warner Cable (along with partner Bright House Networks) and Viacom's MTV Networks could not come to terms for the renewal of any Viacom channel beyond the end of year.[7][8] Time Warner Cable's operations include New York City and Los Angeles, with Bright House including the Tampa Bay and Orlando markets, both top-20 markets. This blackout was narrowly avoided when a zero-hour deal was reached shortly after 12 Midnight ET on January 1, 2009.[9]


On December 7, Viacom sold its stake in MTV Brasil for the Grupo Abril along with rights to the brand. The deal was not announced.[10]


On May 5, 2010, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Viacom's Comedy Central "is developing a whole animated series around Jesus Christ" who, according to the network, wants to escape the shadow of his "powerful but apathetic father.".[11]


In February 2011, Hulu and Viacom announced the return of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" to Hulu, along with shows from the Viacom library. Nickelodeon's shows are not part of this deal.

Also that month, Viacom invested in the Rainbow Group[disambiguation needed ].

Later, in October of 2011, Viacom purchased a majority stake in Bellator Fighting Championships. Spike TV plans to air Bellator in 2013, after the rights to the UFC library ends in 2012.[12]

Copyright complaints against YouTube

In February 2007, Viacom sent upwards of 100,000 DMCA takedown notices to the video-sharing site YouTube. Of the 100,000 notices, approximately 60–70 non-infringing videos were removed under the auspices of copyright infringement.[13]

On March 13, 2007, Viacom filed a US$1 billion legal claim (Viacom International Inc. v. YouTube, Inc.) against Google and YouTube alleging massive copyright infringement, alleging that users frequently uploaded copyrighted material to YouTube—enough to cause a hit in revenue for Viacom and a gain in advertisement revenue for YouTube.[14] The complaint contended that almost 160,000 unauthorized clips of Viacom’s programming were made available on YouTube and that these clips had collectively been viewed more than 1.5 billion times.

In July 2008, the case generated controversy when District Judge Louis Stanton ruled that YouTube was required to hand over data detailing the viewing habits of every user who had ever watched videos on the site.[15] Judge Stanton rejected Viacom's request for YouTube to hand over the source code of its search engine system, saying that the code was a trade secret.[16] Google and Viacom later agreed to allow Google to anonymize all the data before handing it over to Viacom. [17]

On June 23, 2010, Judge Stanton ruled in Google's favor in a motion for summary judgment, holding that Google was protected by provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, notwithstanding evidence of intentional copyright infringement. Viacom announced its intention to appeal the ruling.[18]

Viacom International

As with the old Viacom, the current company owns Viacom International, which is the formal owner of copyrights associated with Viacom's corporate website and its cable networks. This division now owns the rights to a majority of Elvis Presley films made for Paramount Pictures, such as Blue Hawaii and King Creole.

It also continues to focus on its own in-house productions made for its various networks (MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, etc.) – these programs include Dora the Explorer, Pinky Dinky Doo, Invader Zim, The Hills, SpongeBob SquarePants, Behind the Music, Big Time Rush and iCarly.

Corporate governance

The previous board of directors of Viacom were George S. Abrams, David Andelman, Joseph Califano, Jr., William Cohen, Philippe Dauman, Alan Greenberg, Charles Phillips, Shari Redstone, Sumner Redstone, Frederic Salerno, William Schwartz, and Robert D. Walter.

Following the Viacom/CBS split, the Viacom board consisted of George S. Abrams, Philippe Dauman, Thomas E. Dooley, Ellen V. Futter, Robert Kraft, Alan Greenberg, Charles Phillips, Sumner Redstone (Chairman), Shari Redstone (non-executive Vice-Chair), Frederic Salerno, and William Schwartz. As of 2010, the Board consists of George Abrams, Philippe Dauman, Thomas E. Dooley, Alan Greenberg, Robert Kraft, Blythe McGarvie, Charles Phillips, Shari E. Redstone, Sumner M. Redstone, Frederic Salerno, and William Schwartz.


See also

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  1. ^ a b c d e f g Press release: "VIACOM REPORTS FISCAL 2011 FIRST QUARTER RESULTS" Viacom
  2. ^ "Global 500 2009: Industry". CNN. July 20, 2009. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  3. ^ "2007 Results" (PDF). February 28, 2008. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  4. ^ Siklos, Richard (February 9, 2009). "Why Disney wants DreamWorks". CNN. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  5. ^ News Corporation – Annual Report 2007. (June 30, 2007). Retrieved on July 13, 2011.
  6. ^ "The Dreaded Viacom Layoffs: 850 People". 
  7. ^ Fixmer, Andy. (2008-12-31) Viacom May Pull Channels Off Time Warner Cable in Contract Spat. Bloomberg. Retrieved on 2011-07-13.
  8. ^ "Time Warner may cut ‘Colbert,’ ‘Spongebob’". MSNBC. 
  9. ^ "Viacom, Time Warner Cable settle contract dispute", January 1, 2009. Los Angeles Times[dead link]
  10. ^ "Abril compra ações da Viacom na MTV Brasil" (in (Portuguese)). 2009-12-07. Retrieved 2010-5-30. 
  11. ^ "Comedy Central developing Jesus Christ cartoon", May 5, 2010. Hollywood Reporter. (November 30, 2010). Retrieved on July 13, 2011.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Media Companies Blast YouTube for Anti-Piracy Policy. (February 19, 2007). Retrieved on July 13, 2011.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Google must divulge YouTube Log". BBC News. July 3, 2008. 
  16. ^ Helft, Miguel (July 4, 2008). "Google Told to Turn Over User Data of YouTube". The New York Times. 
  17. ^ Sweeney, Mark (July 15, 2008). "Google and Viacom reach deal over YouTube user data". The Guardian. 
  18. ^ Lefkow, Chris (June 23, 2010). "US judge tosses out Viacom copyright suit against YouTube". AFP. Retrieved June 24, 2010. 

External links

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