Digiday+ Member Article

Viacom has aggressively built out its studios businesses, in an effort to feed the seemingly insatiable appetite for content among streaming platforms, linear TV networks and other buyers. And it’s given the company, which has struggled for years to show revenue growth among its media networks and Paramount’s studio businesses, a positive story to tell.

The key hits:

  • Last year, Viacom announced new divisions at its company to develop, produce and sell shows to Netflix and other third-party buyers.
  • With a deep library of popular IP such as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” Viacom has a shot at being a prominent supplier of programming in the “Peak TV” era.
  • Studios businesses are already driving revenue growth, with Paramount TV alone projecting to grow revenue from $400 million last year to $600 million this year.
  • Challenges for Viacom include: the possibility that Netflix and others stop spending wildly on buying content from studios, as well as the ongoing fear that supplying other platforms with more content only reduces the amount of time people might spend on Viacom’s platforms.
  • Ultimately, Viacom has to play ball with Netflix and other third-party buyers, even if we’re looking at a future where Viacom is more of a studio than a media network operator.

Last summer, Viacom announced that it was going to start making TV shows and movies for third-party buyers including Netflix, Hulu and other streaming players and linear TV networks. Some of this programming, such as “The Real World” and “Daria,” would come from existing intellectual property, while others would be all-new titles. The move resulted in the creation of studio units within MTV and other Viacom networks with plans to develop up to a dozen projects in 2018 alone. (The company also announced two new shows, “The Loud House” and “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” for Netflix as part of its earnings this week.)

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