Viacom Inc. (Video & Audio Communications) was an American multinational mass media conglomerate with interests primarily in film and television. It was formed as a spin-off of the first Viacom on December 31, 2005. The two companies Viacom Inc. and CBS corporation succeeded the first Viacom, and they were both owned by National Amusements, which is a theater company controlled by businessman Summer Redstone. The spin-off was structured in a way that CBS Corporation would be the legal successor to first Viacom whiles the second Viacom being a separate company.
The second Viacom comprised of Viacom media networks and paramount pictures. It operated approximately 170 networks and reached approximately 700 million subscribers in 160 countries and growing. However, CBS Corporation retained over-the-air broadcasting, television production, pay television subscription service and publishing assets.
The second Viacom was the world’s ninth-largest media company in terms of revenue, and the headquarters were located at One Astor Plaza in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. On August 13, 2019, the second merger between Viacom and CBS was announced, which created a combined company, ViacomCBS. However, the merger was completed on December 4, 2019.
Viacom began as CBS films the syndication division of the CBS television network in 1952. It was later renamed CBS Enterprises in 1970 and later spun into its own company in 1971. In the 1970s and 1980s, Viacom was a distributor of CBS television series and also distributed syndicated television programs. Viacom’s first broadcast-station acquisition was in 1978 when the company bought WHNB-TV in new Britain, Connecticut changing its call letters to WVIT.
Two years later, Viacom purchased a sanderling broadcasting chain, giving the company radio stations in; New York City, Washington, D.C, Houston, and San Francisco. They also had one television station, WAST, in Albany, New York. Viacom later purchased KSLA in Shreveport, Louisiana, and WHEC-TV in Rochester, New York, in separate transactions.
In 1983, Viacom acquired again its premium channel Showtime which later merged with the warner-AMEX movie channel. Viacom later fully acquired Showtime/the movie channel in 1985 from Warner-Amex. Later in 1987, Viacom bought MTV networks, which owned MTV and Nickelodeon.
Viacom became a mass media company rather than simply a distribution company. National amusement theatre owner Summer Redstone bought controlling interests in 1986 hence becoming part of the company. Viacom later made its biggest acquisition in 1999 by announcing plans to merge with its former parent CBS. The merger was completed in 2000, and in 2001 Viacom completed its purchase of Black Entertainment Television (BET).
Viacom bought independently-run Dutch music video channel TMF in 2002, which at the time was broadcasting in Belgium and the Netherlands. Viacom later bought VIVA media AG in 2004, the German equivalent to MTV. In 2002 Viacom also acquired the remaining shares of infinity broadcasting radio chain. This resulted in Viacom return to operating radio stations after it originally exited the broadcast radio business in 1997.
Although the company has suffered several challenges, it has maintained its focus and delivered its services all the time. Viacom operated several cable television systems from its formation in 1995. The systems were located in Dayton, San Francisco, Nashville, and Seattle Metropolitan areas. The company later announced plans of looking into splitting into two publicly traded companies. However, the companies were to trade under the ownership of national amusements due to stagnating stock price.
The split was approved by Viacom’s board on June 14, 2005, and took effect on January 1, 2006. This reversed the Viacom/CBS merger in 1999. Viacom was later renamed CBS Corporation, thus restoring its pre-merger name. In addition, a spin-off company was created named Viacom, which was headed by Freston. The company comprised of MTV Networks, BET Networks, Paramount Pictures, and Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment.
Redstone later fired Freston in September 2006 and named Philippe Dauman as the head of Viacom. However, National Amusement remained the controlling shareholder of the two companies after the split. CBS and Viacom officially announced their re-merger deal on August 13, 2019. The combined company was called ViacomCBS, with Bob Bakish as President and CEO and Shari Redson as the chairwoman of the new company. The deal was completed on December 4, 2019.
Awards and achievements
Viacom has been greatly honored, and their media networks have highly been appreciated all over the world. This has been evident by the number of awards and nominations as well as honors they have received over the years. Some of these accolades include;
Best Music or Dance Program Award and Best Entertainment Presenter Host with Salman Khan in Bigg Boss Season 11. Viacom was also up for four nominations following its national wins. These include; Nickelodeon Kids Choice Sports Award, Best Branded: MTV Fit Sessions, Best Promo or Trailer, and Best Entertainment Video Music Awards.
Net worth of Viacom in 2024
As of February 2024, Viacom is estimated to have a net worth of $15 billion. The company has generated its revenue through fees from the distribution of programming and program services. These services include; cable television operators, direct to home satellite television operators, mobile networks, and subscription-based video on demand.
Many companies rise up, become famous, and after some time, they collapse. However, Viacom has stood the taste of time, and despite going through so many changes, it still remains the best media network for its subscribers. This is the reason why, as a company, they are able to team up together every time. They have also received great support from their fans who believe in them and love what they do as a team.