Bob Bakish’s Five-Point Plan

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By Adam R Jacobson
RBR + TVBparamountR


As noted in various media reports, Viacom will place its focus in six key brands moving forward, leaving ancillary brands including CMT in question as the company doubles down on its Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., and MTV brands.

At the same time, testosterone-fueled Spike is set to get an early 2018 rebranding as the Paramount Network. It will serve as Viacom’s “premier general entertainment brand,” veering from a male-focused network.

This was outlined in a five-point plan, which seeks to accomplish the following:

  1. Put the full power of Viacom behind six flagship brands: BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Paramount
  2. Revitalize and elevate approach to content and talent
  3. Deepen partnerships to drive traditional revenue
  4. Make big moves in the digital world and physical world
  5. Continue to optimize and energize the organization

“Viacom’s flagship brands will be the company’s highest priorities and will benefit from significant and increased resource commitments,” the company said.

Thus, could CMT — home of the drama Nashville and country music-themed programming — be rebranded as “MTV Nashville” or “MTV Country”?

Viacom notes that its other brands — some of which hold strong positions in their categories and maintain diverse and loyal followings — “will be realigned to reinforce the six flagship brands.”
Perhaps the biggest news is Viacom’s commitment to troubled film studio Paramount Studios, which it seeks to resuscitate.

Viacom has “identified opportunities to bring the best of Paramount to the network business, and the best of the network business to Paramount.”

This means Paramount’s film slate will now include co-branded releases from each of Viacom’s flagship brands, along with Paramount-branded films focused on franchises, tentpoles and other projects.

In an initial step, Viacom revealed a commitment between Nickelodeon and Paramount to move forward on a slate of four films.

The first of these films, Amusement Park, will premiere in theaters in summer 2018 and is expected to launch a spin-off TV series on Nickelodeon in 2019.

Viacom is also responding to OTT and linear programming consumer engagement growth, and plans to invest in “new content experiences, and will establish its first ever dedicated short-form content unit.”


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Adam R Jacobson is a veteran radio industry journalist and advertising industry analyst with general, multicultural and Hispanic market expertise. From 1996 to 2006 he served as an editor at Radio & Records.