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Viacom (1971)

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  Summary  

Viacom Inc. , 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.

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 and publishing assets (Simon & Schuster) formerly owned by the larger company. However, Sumner Redstone through National Amusements, retains majority control of Viacom. Predecessor firms of Viacom 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.

Viacom is a member of the Motion Picture Association of America .

  Biography  

 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.

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

 2005
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 will remain owned by Viacom, even though CBS acquired Paramount's own TV studio.

 2006
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.

 2007
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.

 2008
On December 4, three weeks before Christmas, Viacom announced layoffs of 850 personnel, or 7% of their workforce. At the end of the year, Time Warner Cable and Viacom's MTV Networks could not come to terms for the renewal of any Viacom channel beyond the end of year. 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.

 2009
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.

 2010
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.".

 2011

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, an Italian children's animated and consumer products company.

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.

On December the 1st, the company stopped trading on the New York Stock Exchange after 40 years of continuous trading and began listing its securities on NASDAQ instead. The company cited listing fees as the main reason why. They also added the switch is to be voluntary. The stock ticker symbols are the same as that used while the company was on the NYSE.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Viacom", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.