After much speculation, Viacom and CBS are back together once again after 13 years apart. Early this afternoon, the two media companies officially announced plans to merge into a new company dubbed ViacomCBS. Once the merger becomes official, current Viacom CEO Bob Bakish will head up the company.
“Today marks an important day for CBS and Viacom, as we unite our complementary assets and capabilities and become one of only a few companies with the breadth and depth of content and reach to shape the future of our industry,” Bakish said in a press release.
“Our unique ability to produce premium and popular content for global audiences at scale – for our own platforms and for our partners around the world – will enable us to maximize our business for today, while positioning us to lead for years to come,” Bakish added.
Indeed, the new merger yields a company with an impressive list of media properties under its umbrella, including Showtime, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, and more. What’s more, ViacomCBS now boasts a catalog of more than 140,000 TV episodes and 3,600 films, a list which includes titles like Star Trek and Mission Impossible.
To give you an idea as to the size of the new company, the press release makes a point of noting that Viacom and CBS over the past 12 months spent $13 billion on content. As to how ViacomCBS plans to grow going forward, the press release lays out the company’s three-part growth strategy as follows:
- Accelerate direct-to-consumer strategy. Together, the combined company will be positioned to accelerate and expand its direct-to-consumer strategy through its proven and diverse portfolio of both subscription and ad-supported offerings. These include CBS All Access and Showtime, which deliver premium, branded content live and on demand to millions of subscribers; Pluto TV, the leading free streaming TV service in the U.S.; and niche products such as CBSN, ET Live and Noggin. It also has an opportunity to expand globally by leveraging its existing strength in both subscription and ad-supported offerings, combined library, content production capabilities and international infrastructure.
- Enhance distribution and advertising opportunities. The breadth and depth of the combined company’s reach across both traditional and new platforms – including 22% of U.S. TV viewership – will drive important new distribution and advertising opportunities. For distributors, this includes forming more expansive and multifaceted relationships, and applying the benefit of retransmission consent across a combined portfolio. For advertisers and agencies, the combined company will provide industry-leading reach through a variety of formats, including a portfolio of differentiated advanced advertising and marketing solutions, such as CBS Interactive, Viacom Vantage and Viacom Velocity, which will be applied against significant, expanded inventory across the portfolio.
- Create a leading producer and licensor of premium content to third-party platforms globally. As one of the biggest premium content providers in the world, the combined company is positioned to deliver content to a diverse global customer base that includes MVPDs, broadcast and cable networks, subscription and ad-supported streaming services, mobile providers and social platforms. Notably, in addition to content licensing, CBS and Viacom are developing must-watch programming for a broad range of third-party networks and platforms to feed significant demand for original, premium content.