by Blake Chapman
The CEO of Viacom, announced that the company would not be forming their own exclusive online streaming service this week at the Royal Television Society conference in London.
CEO Bob Bakish responded to questions about the company’s interest in investing in a subscription-based platform along the same lines as Disney’s upcoming Disney Play service. “Where I sit today, we have a very clear path to value creation ahead of us…. [There is] a lot of exciting road ahead without consolidation.” Bakish claims here that the company has a plan for innovation in place already that does not require gathering their properties in a single medium. Bakish went on to say, “We see that space as becoming crowded and quite capital-intensive.”
Ball State Telecommunications professor Dom Caristi advised, “Sometimes the most successful companies have been the ones that see where everyone else is going and choose to go a different way,” when asked why Viacom is staying away from this type of business model. He went on to add, “It is a decision for today, but it is not cast in stone.”
This has not been the only major broadcasting decision the company has decided on in 2018 though. Earlier this year, Viacom also announced a partnership with digital platform VRV to create a new channel titled NickSplat, focusing on classic 90’s nicktoons and other shows. Mr. Caristi commented on that business move stating, “There are a couple explanations for that…the children’s market is a market that they have the potential in…it could instead be a trial balloon to test the waters for separate channels.” Going along with his previous point, Caristi did mention that if NickSplat turned out to be unsuccessful, “After six months they could just shut it down…or it was really a good decision and they need to start a new channel for an MTV product or something else.”
At the end of the day, with the vast array of varying streaming services up to grab by consumers, content remains king. “The answer is having the best content…The solution is having that next big thing,” Caristi said. Whether Viacom chooses to stick with the plan they have outlined or find that the new and returning media collection they have is worth a dedicated platform will be up to market feedback.
Image: Facebook (Viacom)