CBS and Viacom reunite in deal that marks ascendance of Shari Redstone

With the merger, CBS’ digital service could see the addition of children’s content from Nickelodeon, and Pluto TV could include some of CBS’ ad-driven digital networks like its 24-hour sports news service CBS Sports HQ. (New York Times)Written by Edmund Lee Shari Redstone got her wish. After more than a decade apart, CBS and Viacom,…

CBS and Viacom reunite in deal that marks ascendance of Shari Redstone

With the merger, CBS’ digital service could see the addition of children’s content from Nickelodeon, and Pluto TV could include some of CBS’ ad-driven digital networks like its 24-hour sports news service CBS Sports HQ. (New York Times)Written by Edmund Lee
Shari Redstone got her wish. After more than a decade apart, CBS and Viacom, both under her control, agreed to merge Tuesday in a deal that will reunite a roster of once-mighty media businesses. Viacom’s Paramount film studio and MTV and Nickelodeon cable networks will be added to broadcast giant CBS and book publisher Simon & Schuster.
The deal will allow the company to invest more in streaming, which is the future of entertainment. CBS already has a thriving digital television service with original series, including the forthcoming “Star Trek: Picard,” and Viacom owns an ad-supported streaming service called Pluto TV.
With the merger, CBS’ digital service could see the addition of children’s content from Nickelodeon, and Pluto TV could include some of CBS’ ad-driven digital networks like its 24-hour sports news service CBS Sports HQ. The companies can also negotiate for better terms with pay-TV operators, which could make cable bills more expensive.
The combination of CBS and Viacom is a victory for Redstone, the leader of a family business that has led the two media giants for two decades. The two companies were once a single entity, called Viacom, until they were split up in 2006, and their reunification was seen as necessary at a time when television audiences have eroded. Tech platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Netflix have chipped away at big media, eating into the once-fat profits that companies like CBS and Viacom reaped.
Redstone had pushed for a deal for at least three years but faced fierce opposition from CBS’ board, including its former chief executive, Leslie Moonves. Moonves was pushed out last September after several women accused him of sexual assault, charges that he has denied. Redstone will be chairwoman of the combined company. “I am really excited to see these two great companies come together so that they can realize the incredible power of their combined assets,” she said in a statement. “We will establish a world-class, multiplatform media organization that is well-positioned for growth in a rapidly transforming industry.”
Viacom’s chief executive, Robert M. Bakish, will lead the combined company, which will be called ViacomCBS, and Joseph Ianniello, the CBS acting chief executive, w
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