Feb 20, 2019
Two new deals represent Viacom’s latest strategic moves to put its content on next-generation platforms.
Viacom content will be newly available to millions of potential viewers on two streaming platforms, according to a pair of separate partnerships with Charter Communications and fuboTV announced earlier today. Together, these deals illustrate Viacom’s continued, strategic focus on making its content available on next-generation platforms to meet the needs of today’s—and tomorrow’s—consumers, as well as position itself as a key partner to an expanding network of industry leaders and innovators.
As announced this afternoon, Viacom will be one of Charter’s programming partners for “Spectrum TV Essentials,” a new streaming service set to launch by the end of March. As well, in a separate deal announced earlier today with fuboTV, content from across Viacom’s portfolio will be available across the fuboTV’s suite of packages.
The Deals in Brief
The big idea: Viacom is moving beyond its linear network legacy to increase the availability of its programming—including hits like Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and MTV’s Jersey Shore: Family Vacation—for live and on-demand streaming platforms. This means its content is available for those who choose to pay for a subscription service in addition to, or as an alternative to, a traditional cable subscription.
Industry context: The move signals that Viacom’s a valuable partner in the fragmented video distribution landscape—dubbed “OTT Overload” by AdWeek . The ecosystem is slated to become even more competitive in the next year with the debut of The Walt Disney Company’s Disney+ platform, AT&T’s yet-to-be-named direct-to-consumer platform, and an ever-increasing number of a la carte OTT offerings from cable companies and wireless providers.
Good to know: Viacom’s also invested in a streaming model that’s supported by advertising rather than subscription fees (in other words, free for consumers). Viacom agreed to acquire the ad-supported streaming service Pluto TV earlier this month. The deal, which is expected to close at the end of March, will put its programming in front of more than 12 million subscribers and position it as a leading content provider in the free-streaming ecosystem.
On-the-record: “I think one of the things we've done as a company in the last couple of years is to make acquisitions that are really, really transformative of our business,” said Shari Redstone, the non-executive vice chair of Viacom’s board of directors, recently in a conversation with Bob Bakish during a Viacom town hall event.