A multi-billion dollar corporation which controls a huge portion of
network television on the air today, including, but not limited to: MTV,
BET, VH1, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central. Viacom's influence on
the ideals of Americans ranging in age from 6 to mid-20s is enormous.
Viacom is methodically eliminating independent media organizations in
an effort to monopolize American media. Viacom is a "special interest
group" to US presidents, meaning Viacom essentially bribes government
officials to turn the other way as it takes hold on more and more media.
The original Viacom began as CBS Films, Inc., the television
syndication division of CBSestablished in 1952. The division was spun
off and renamed Viacom in 1971, amid new FCC rules
forbidding television networks from owning syndication
companies (the rules were later repealed).
String of acquisitions
Viacom's first non-programming acquisition came in 1978 when the
company purchased the Sonderling Broadcasting chain, giving it radio
stations in New York City, Washington, D.C., Houston, and San
Francisco, and one television station, WAST (now WNYT) in Albany,
Later that year, Viacom added WHNB-TV in New Britain, Connecticut,
changing its call letters to WVIT. The early 1980s saw Viacom sorting
through the Sonderling stations with several being donated, swapped, or
being the nucleus for new corporations—for example, WOL in
Washington launched the Radio One group, which today is the
largest African-American-owned broadcasting corporation.
In 1983, Viacom purchased KSLA-TV in Shreveport, Louisiana,
and WHEC-TV in Rochester, New York, in separate transactions,
followed in 1986 with (ironically) CBS-owned KMOX-TV in St. Louis;
with the purchase, that station's call letters were changed to KMOV.
In 1985, Viacom bought Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, which
owned MTV and Nickelodeon, renaming the company MTV Networks.
Viacom also received Warner-Amex's share of Viacom/WASEC joint
venture Showtime Networks, Inc, which included Showtime and The
In 1986, movie theater owner National Amusements bought controlling
interest in Viacom, which brought Sumner Redstone to the company.
Redstone retained the Viacom name and made a string of large
acquisitions in the early 1990s, announcing plans to merge with
Paramount Communications (formerly Gulf+Western), parent
of Paramount Pictures, in 1993, and buying the Blockbuster Video chain
The Blockbuster acquisition gave Viacom access to large television
holdings controlled by Aaron Spelling's company, Spelling
Entertainment; along with his own productions, Spelling controlled the
pre-1973 ABC and NBC back catalogs by way of Worldvision
Enterprises and Republic Pictures.
In 1999, Viacom made its biggest acquisition to date by announcing
plans to merge with its former parent CBS Corporation. The merger was
approved in 2000, bringing cable channels TNN (now Spike TV)
and Country Music Television (CMT) under Viacom's wing, as well as
CBS's production units and TV syndicaters Eyemark Entertainment
(formerly Group W) and King World. CBS's production unit and King
World (which has since folded Eyemark) operated under their own
names; however, TNN and CMT were merged into MTV Networks
In 2001, Viacom completed its purchase of Black Entertainment
Television (BET). As with TNN/Spike TV and CMT, it was
immediately integrated into MTV Networks, causing some outcry
among BET workers in the Washington area (where BET was based
before the merger). As a result, BET was eventually de-integrated from
Although a majority economic interest in Viacom was held by
independent shareholders, the Redstone family maintained 71-percent
voting control of the company through National Amusements' holdings
of Viacom's stock.
In 2002, Viacom bought independently run music channel TMF, which
at the time was broadcasting in Belgium and the Netherlands. In June
2004, Viacom bought VIVA Media AG, the German equivalent to
MTV. The same month, plans were announced to dispose of Viacom's
interest in Blockbuster later that year by means of an exchange offer.
Also in 2002, Viacom acquired the remaining shares of Infinity
Broadcasting radio chain. And in April 2003, Viacom acquired the
remaining ownership shares of Comedy Central from Time Warner,
making Comedy Central integrated into MTV Networks.
In March 2005, Viacom announced plans of looking into splitting the
company into two publicly traded companies under the continuing
ownership of National Amusements. The company was not only dealing
with a stagnating stock price, but also the rivalry between Les
Moonves and Tom Freston, longtime heads of CBS andMTV
Networks respectively. After the departure of Mel Karmazin in 2004,
Redstone, who served as Chairmanand 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 would be a creative solution to the matter of replacing him.
The split was approved by Viacom's board June 14, 2005, took effect
December 31, 2005, and effectively reversed the Viacom/CBS merger of
1999. The existing Viacom was renamed CBS Corporation and was
headed by Moonves. It now includes Viacom's "slow growth
businesses", namely CBS, The CW (a merger of UPN and The
WB), CBS Radio, Simon & Schuster, CBS Outdoor (formerly Viacom
Outdoor), Showtime, CBS Television Studios, CBS Television
Distribution and CBS Studios International. These, according to some
analysts were suffocating the growth of the MTV Networks cable
businesses. The split effectively made CBS an independent company
In addition, CBS Corporation was given Paramount Parks (which they
sold to amusement park operator Cedar Fair, L.P. on June 30, 2006) and
the CBS College Sports Network.
Additionally, a new spin-off company was created called Viacom, which
was headed by Freston. It comprises MTV Networks, BET Networks,
Paramount's movie studio, and Paramount Pictures' home entertainment
operations. These businesses are categorized as the high-growth
businesses (MTV Networks and BET Networks in particular), and if
they were split into a separate company, it could infuse new
funds/capital to allow for future acquisitions and expansion.
In September 2006, Redstone fired Freston and named Philippe
Dauman as the new head of Viacom.
In March 2005, the prior Viacom announced plans of looking into
splitting the company into two publicly traded companies because of not
only a stagnating stock price but also the rivalry between Leslie
Moonves and Tom Freston, longtime heads of MTV Networks. In
addition, the company was facing issues after MTV was banned from
producing any more Super Bowl halftime shows after the Super Bowl
Halftime Show controversy of 2004.
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
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 were 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) nor the animated unit (which
was not part of the deal)—would remain owned by Viacom, even though
CBS acquired Paramount's own TV studio.
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
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 Joostthanks to a thorough content licensing deal.
On May 21, Viacom entered into a 50–50 joint venture with Indian
media company Network 18 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 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
On December 4, Viacom announced layoffs of 850 personnel, or 7% of
their workforce. At the end of the year, Time Warner Cable (along with
partner Bright House Networks) 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,
On December 7, Viacom sold its stake in MTV Brasil to Grupo
Abril along with rights to the brand. Details on the deal were not
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"
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
Also that month, Viacom invested in Rainbow S.r.l., an Italian children's
animated and consumer products company best known for the Winx
Later, in October 2011, Viacom purchased a majority stake in Bellator
Fighting Championships. Spike TV plans to air Bellator in 2013, after
the rights to the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) library ends in
On December 1, the company stopped trading on the New York Stock
Exchange and began listing its securities on NASDAQ instead. The
stock ticker symbols are the same as that used while the company was
on the NYSE
On July 10, 2012, during contract negotiations over raising carrier rates
the U.S. satellite TV provider, DirecTV's executives approached Viacom
with a new proposal and a request to continue broadcasting 17 of
Viacom's television networks (including Nickelodeon, MTV, Logo,
and Comedy Central) during talks, but received no response and thus
Viacom ceased transmission to DirecTV's 20 million subscribers On
July 11, in a counter response to DirecTV advising its subscribers to
view original programming from the affected networks online, Viacom
scaled back access to recent episodes of Viacom-owned program content
available to the websites of its networks. Viacom described this as a
"temporary slimdown" until a new carriage deal with DirecTV was
reached. Viacom and DirecTV reached an agreement on July 20 to
return the interrupted programming. In 2012 CEO Phillip Dauman began
to report Viacom's intentions to bundle past programming and make it
available on-demand via services like Hulu.
On April 1, 2014, Cable One removed 15 channels owned by Viacom
(MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, and TV Land) off after the two companies
failed to reach an agreement. Channels were replaced with other
networks including BBC
America, Sprout, SundanceTV, IFC, Investigation Discovery,TV One,
CMP/TV, National Geographic Channel, and TheBlaze. The change has
been deemed permanent.
On May 1, 2014, Viacom announced it had agreed to take over the
British broadcaster Channel 5 from Northern & Shell, the media group
owned by the British newspaper publisher Richard Desmond. Viacom
becomes the first American media company to take over a British
broadcaster with a public service remit.] The takeover of Channel 5
closed on September 10, 2014.
Copyright complaints against YouTube
In February 2007, Viacom sent upwards of
100,000 DMCA takedown notices to the video-sharing site YouTube. Of
the 100,000 notices, approximately 60–70 non-infringing videos were
removed under the auspices of copyright infringement.
On March 13, 2007, Viacom filed a US$1 billion legal claim
against Google and YouTube alleging massive copyright infringement,
alleging that users frequently uploaded copyrighted material to
YouTube—enough to cause a hit in revenue for Viacom and a gain in
advertisement revenue for YouTube.The complaint contended that
almost 160,000 unauthorized clips of Viacom's programming were made
available on YouTube and that these clips had collectively been viewed
more than 1.5 billion times.
In July 2008, the case generated controversy when District Judge Louis
Stanton ruled that YouTube was required to hand over data detailing the
viewing habits of every user who had ever watched videos on the
site. Judge Stanton rejected Viacom's request for YouTube to hand
over thesource code of its search engine system, saying that the code
was a trade secret. Google and Viacom later agreed to allow Google to
anonymize all the data before handing it over to Viacom.
On June 23, 2010, Judge Stanton ruled in Google's favor in a motion
for summary judgment, holding that Google was protected by provisions
of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, notwithstanding evidence of
intentional copyright infringement. Viacom announced its intention to
appeal the ruling.
On April 5, 2012, the ruling was overturned by the United States Court
of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Writing for a two-judge panel
(because Judge Roger Miner had died while the trial was pending) of
the Second Circuit, Judge José A. Cabranes concluded that "a
reasonablejury could find that YouTube had actual knowledge or
awareness of specific infringing activity on its website". Eric Goldman,
a professor at theSanta Clara University School of Law, expressed
concern that the ruling would negatively affect startups, by making them
"more hair-trigger on taking down news or content, for fear that failure
to do so will be held against them by content providers".
Viacom is one of the companies that uses the services of Wiki-PR, a
public relations firm specialized in editing of Wikipedia that is accused
ofsubverting Wikipedia content for business interest.
As with the old Viacom, the current company owns Viacom
International, which is the formal owner of copyrights associated with
Viacom's corporate website and its cable networks. This division now
owns the rights to a majority of Elvis Presley films made for Paramount
Pictures, such as Blue Hawaii and King Creole.
It also continues to focus on its own in-house productions made for its
various networks (MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, etc.).
The previous board of directors of Viacom were George S.
Abrams, David Andelman, Joseph Califano, Jr., William
Cohen, Philippe Dauman,Alan C. Greenberg, Charles Phillips, Shari
Redstone, Sumner Redstone, Frederic Salerno, William Schwartz,
and Robert D. Walter.
Following the Viacom/CBS split, the Viacom board consisted of George
S. Abrams, Philippe Dauman, Thomas E. Dooley, Ellen V.
Futter, Robert Kraft, Alan Greenberg, Charles Phillips, Sumner
Redstone (Chairman), Shari Redstone (non-executive Vice-Chair),
Frederic Salerno, and William Schwartz. As of 2010, the Board consists
of George Abrams, Philippe Dauman, Thomas E. Dooley, Alan
Greenberg, Robert Kraft, Blythe McGarvie, Charles Phillips, Shari E.
Redstone, Sumner M. Redstone, Frederic Salerno, and William
List of assets owned by Viacom
The following is a list of major assets owned by Viacom. Prior to the
completion of the CBS/Viacom split at the end of 2005, the assets listed
at were also owned by Viacom:
Paramount Motion Pictures Group
Paramount Pictures International
MTV Motion Pictures Group
Paramount Home Entertainment
Paramount Famous Productions
United International Pictures (UIP), formerly Cinema International
Corporation (CIC). It is a joint venture
with NBCUniversal's Universal Studios.
Republic Pictures (or Republic Entertainment, Inc.), which in 2012
became Melange Pictures
Viacom Media Networks
Music and Entertainment Group
Kids & Family Group
Nick 2/Nick at Nite
Nick Jr. (Previously known as Noggin from February 2, 1999
until its relaunch September 28, 2009 as Nick Jr.)
TeenNick (Previously known as The N from April 1, 2002 until
its relaunch September 28, 2009 as TeenNick)
Nick Gas (1999 –2009)
CMT Pure Country
CMT (Canada) (10%)
Viacom International Media Networks
Channel 5 +1
Channel 5 +24
MTV | MTV Live HD
UK: Channel 5 | 5* | 5USA | MTV | VH1 | MTV Classic | MTV Base | MTV
Dance | MTV Hits | MTV Rocks | Nickelodeon |Nicktoons | Nick Jr. Too | Comedy
Central | Comedy Central Extra | Viva | BET UK
Germany: Nick Nach Acht | Viva | MTV Music | MTV
Entertainment | Nickelodeon | Nicktoons | NickNight
France: MTV Base | MTV Idol | MTV Pulse | Game One | Game One Music
HD | Nickelodeon | Nickelodeon 4Teen |Nickelodeon Junior | Paramount Channel
Benelux: TMF | TMF Dance | TMF NL | TMF Pure | MTV Brand New | Comedy
Central Family | Nick Hits
Spain: MTV | VH1 | Paramount Channel | Comedy Central | Nickelodeon | Nick Jr.
Portugal: MTV | MTV Music | MTV Rocks | MTV Dance | VH1 | VH1
Classic | Nickelodeon
India: Sonic Nickelodeon | Colors TV | VH1 (India) | Nickelodeon
(India) | Rishtey | Comedy Central (India)
Poland: MTV | MTV Live HD | VH1 | VIVA | Comedy Central | Comedy Central
Family | Viacom Blink! | Nickelodeon |Nickelodeon HD | Nick Jr.
Brazil: MTV | Paramount Channel | VH1 MegaHits | Nickelodeon | Nick
Jr. | Comedy Central
Latin America: MTV | Paramount Channel | MTV Hits | Nickelodeon | Nick
Jr. | Nicktoons | Comedy Central
Philippines: MTV Pinoy6
Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment Company | CIC Video2 | Jesse L. Lasky
Feature Play Company | Paramount News |Paramount Cartoon Studios | Famous
Studios | MTV Shows | Nickelodeon Studios | Nickelodeon Video3 | Nick Jr.
Productions | Cinema International Corporation | One World
Entertainment | Paramount Comics5 | MTV Brasil | Peanuts Home Video | Republic
Pictures | Republic Pictures Home Video | Liberty Films | Mascot Pictures | U.M.
& M. TV Corporation |VistaVision | Spelling Films | Paramount
Communications | Gulf & Western Industries | Worldvision Home Video | Sunn
Classic Pictures | Taft Entertainment Pictures | Commonwealth United
Entertainment | Nick Games and Sports For Kids |Ha!: The TV Comedy
Network | The N Originals | Noggin Original | NTA Home Entertainment | The
Comedy Channel | The Comedy Channel Originals | Ha! TV Comedy Network
Originals | MTV Films Europe | Viacom New Media | Viacom Consumer
Products | MTV Games | Comedy Central Games
Atom Entertainment, which consists of AddictingGames, Atom
Uploads, and Shockwave.com
Neopets (till 2014, bought by JumpStart)
Comedy Central Records
Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products
MTVN Direct (a division of MTV Networks Company)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Viacom International, Inc.
KGBS-CD (a Tr3́s owned & operated TV station in Austin, Texas)
Viacom Media Networks
MTV Networks (1984–2011)
Type Division of Viacom
Industry Entertainment, cable andsatellite
Founded New York City, New
Founder Robert Pittman
Headquarters 1515 Broadway, 44th Floor
New York City, NY 10036-
5797, United States
Key people Doug Herzog (President,
Viacom Music and
Cyma Zarghami (President,
Viacom Kids & Family Group)
Owner Warner-Amex Satellite
Viacom Inc. (2006–Present)
Website Viacom Brands Part of a series on
in the United
Viacom Media Networks (originally MTV Networks), is a division
of media conglomerate Viacomthat oversees the operations of
many television channels and Internet brands, including the
originalMTV channel in the United States. Sibling to Viacom Media
Networks is Viacom International Media Networks.
The company was established in 1984 after Warner
Communications and American Expressdecided to divest the basic cable
assets of Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, renaming it MTV
Networks, Inc. Warner-Amex originally created and
owned Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1 and The Movie Channel (TMC).
Viacom acquired 66% of the company in 1985, and then acquired the
remaining interest in 1986. It was then folded into Viacom International
Inc., a subsidiary of Viacom Inc., and is no longer a distinct legal entity.
1 Cable channels owned by Viacom Media Networks
o 1.1 Music and Entertainment Group
o 1.2 Kids & Family Group
o 1.3 BET Networks
o 1.4 Former channels
o 1.5 Notes
2 Internet properties
3 Game properties
4 Viacom International Media Networks
5 Viacom Media Networks Rating Issues
6 See also
8 External links
Cable channels owned by Viacom Media Networks
Viacom Media Networks' family of brands is divided into three sections,
based on the type of television programming and audiences they serve.
Music and Entertainment Group
Kids & Family Group[
Nick 2, Nickelodeon's alternate East/West feed
Nick HD, Nickelodeon's high-definition feed
Nick at Nite, evening programming block on Nickelodeon
NickMom, night-time programming block on Nick Jr.
CMT Pure Country3
Nick Gas (1999–2009)
Tempo Networks (2005–2007)
VH1 Uno (2001-2008)
1Channel created by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment prior to 1984.
2Channel originally owned by CBS, became part of MTV Networks
when CBS merged with Viacom.
3Created as VH1 Country prior to Viacom/CBS merger.
4Channel was originally known as VH1 MegaHits before being
discontinued in July 2005 to facilitate Logo launch.
5Channel was originally known as Noggin before being rebranded as
Nick Jr. in 2009. Co-owned with Sesame Workshop from 1999 to 2002.
6Channel was originally known as The N before being rebranded as
TeenNick in 2009.
7Channel started as Ha!, merged with HBO's The Comedy Channel the
following year, became fully owned by Viacom in 2003.
8Channel originally known as The Nashville Network until 2000
and The National Network until 2003.
9Co-owned with sister company Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM.
Viacom Media Networks handles operations.
10Channel was originally known as Nicktoons TV until 2003 when it
was rebranded as Nicktoons which was rebranded again as Nicktoons
Network in 2005 and finally rebranded yet again as Nicktoons once
more in 2009. Internet properties
The company also owns internet properties, such as Atom
Films, Addicting Games, MTV News, MTV International, Rhapsody,
Jokes.com, GameTrailers, Xfire, 365gay.com, Shockwave.com, and Q
uizilla. MTV Networks has also made a partnership with Nexon to
promote its Neopets service.
New York headquarters
Viacom had a game division called MTV Games, which used to publish
the Rock Band and Dance Central series by Harmonix Music Systems,
its former subsidiary. Dance Central was the last game from MTV
Games before its closure, but will be resurrected in 2012 and will not
publish the Rock Band andDance Central series, as it will focus on other
games, starting with The Age of Decadence by Iron Tower Studio. MTV
Networks opened another game division called 345 Games in New York
City and it will start to publish future games. The Rock Band series and
the Dance Central series will be published byWarner Bros. Games. The
first game published by 345 Games was Ugly Americans:
Apocalypsegaddeonbased on the Comedy Central TV series, Ugly
Americans. Recently, 345 games has announced a video game based on
the popular MMA franchise, Bellator Fighting Championships.
Viacom International Media Networks
Viacom International Media Networks is a division of Viacom
International. Its headquarters are based in New
York, London, Warsaw and Buenos Aires. It consists of 64 localized
MTV channels, MTV Live HD, VH1 (6 in
total), Nickelodeon, TMF, VIVA, Comedy Central, Game
One, Neopets,GameTrailers, Nitrome Limited, Shockwave, Addicting
Games, Atom Films and Xfire. MTV Networks' brands are seen globally
in 560 million households in 162 countries and 33 languages via more
than 150 locally programmed and operated TV channels and more than
350 digital media properties.
The Viacom International Media Networks network consists of:
Viacom International Media Networks Europe
Viacom International Media Networks Northern Europe
Viacom International Media Networks Southern Europe
Viacom International Media Networks The Americas
Viacom Networks Japan K.K.
Viacom Networks Japan G.K.
MTV Networks Asia Pacific
MTV Networks Latin America, US Hispanic and Canada
MTV Networks Africa Viacom Media Networks Rating
In Fall 2012, media analysts began to report that ratings amongst some
of MTV Networks leading brands in the U.S. including MTV, Comedy
Central and Nickelodeon are experiencing falls in viewership unlike
other US broadcasters.
It has been reported that MTV Networks portfolio of channels fourteen
of the 16 channels in the MTV and Nickelodeon families had viewership
declines in September, according to Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Todd
Jeunger, citing Nielsen data. MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon
are of most concern to investors. The three account for roughly 50% of
Viacom's operating profit, estimates David Bank of RBC Capital