Since Tom Freston and Leslie Moonves took over as co-presidents/co-COOs of Viacom Inc., the company has re-energized its focus on bringing its various content brands to new technologies to create new
NEW YORK (The Hollywood Reporter) -- Since Tom Freston and Leslie Moonves took over as co-presidents/co-COOs of Viacom Inc., the company has re-energized its focus on bringing its various content brands to new technologies to create new revenue streams and further strengthen consumers' connection with the brands, industry observers say.
Just like other pure content players, such as NBC Universal and the Walt Disney Co., are doing amid an industrywide concentration on growing existing businesses rather than making acquisitions, Viacom has been increasingly pushing into the Internet, wireless, videogame and interactive TV services space to leverage its franchises.
The creation of CBS Digital Media, which unites the Web sites of all businesses under Moonves' purview, was only the latest sign that Viacom has evolved into a formidable multiplatform player.
"Broadband, cell phones and other technologies are ripe for full-motion video and other exploitation," said Viacom executive VP operations Robert Bakish, one of Freston's right-hand men, at an investor conference the week of March 28. "We are very much living in a multiplatform world."
While Viacom doesn't detail how much revenue every year comes from the use of entertainment franchises in nontraditional fields, Bakish said the figure is currently a three-figure million-dollar number. "It's starting to be significant," he said.
One of the company's upcoming projects is a music download service that MTV is set to launch this year. Bakish said the digital music offering will be "more an entertainment experience than a store," including exclusive content tied to Viacom brands.
"There will be an a la carte service, subscriptions, free and premium radio," he said.
Viacom also is testing an interactive TV application for Nickelodeon's "Dora the Explorer," Bakish said. "Kids like it, and it seems to create a halo effect for [cable and satellite partners]."
Verizon Wireless recently started offering short content from Viacom's VH1 and Comedy Central networks, with similar Nickelodeon and CMT products set to launch next month, Bakish said.
But these products won't be the last from Viacom, he said. "We will keep extending our TV and other brands onto new platforms," Bakish said.