CBS and Viacom announce deal to reunite

NEW YORK — CBS and Viacom said Tuesday they will reunite, bringing together their networks and the Paramount movie studio as traditional media giants challenge streaming companies like Netflix.Viacom owns Paramount Pictures and pay TV channels such as Comedy Central, MTV and BET, while CBS has a broadcast network, television stations, Showtime and a stake in The CW over-the-air network.Analysts say the reunion will help both companies navigate an ever-competitive streaming landscape. MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson said Paramount’s movie library could be added to Showtime’s premium networks and streaming service, for instance, while CBS’ streaming service could get a boost from Viacom’s Nickelodeon video.CBS was one of the first media companies to launch its own streaming service, CBS All Access. The $6-a-month service now has a new “Star Trek” series, a revival of “The Twilight Zone” and archives of old and current broadcast shows. CBS says All Access and its Showtime streaming services have 8 million subscribers combined. That’s far less than the 60 million U.S. subscribers that Netflix has, though it’s comparable with the estimated number of subscribers to HBO Now, that network’s stand-alone streaming service.Now, Disney, Comcast’s NBCUniversal and AT&T’s WarnerMedia are jumping in with their own services as well to challenge Netflix, Amazon, Google and other tech companies encroaching into entertainment. To expand its library, Disney bought Fox’s entertainment businesses for $71 billion in March, while DirecTV owner AT&T bought Time Warner last year for $81 billion.Moody’s media analyst Neil Begley said the CBS-Viacom reunion would help cut costs and provide greater scale for creating and distributing content.“There’s growing pressure on companies to bulk up content libraries and merging is the easiest and safest way to do that,” Begley said.Viacom CEO Bob Bakish will become CEO of the combined company. Acting CBS CEO Joe Ianniello will become chairman and CEO of the CBS division. The deal is an all-stock transaction. CBS shareholders will own about 61 per cent of the combined company and Viacom shareholders will own 39 per cent. The companies say the combined company will have $28 billion in revenue.The deal will be beneficial to earnings and lead to $500 million in cost savings, the companies say.The reunion is expected to be completed by the end of the year.The combined company would still be small compared with behemoths like Disney, with a vast library of movies and shows, and Netflix, the pioneer in streaming technology. CBS has a market value of $18 billion and Viacom has a market value of about $11.7 billion. Disney’s is nearly $245 billion and Netflix is at $136 billion.Begley said the combined entity might have to consider other acquisitions to keep up with competitors. However, the number of possible targets is dwindling, he said, with what’s left mostly smaller companies such as the Discovery and the AMC television networks and the MGM and Lionsgate movie studios.CBS and Viacom have had an on-again, off-again relationship.CBS split from Viacom in 2006, but both remained controlled by National Amusements. Shari Redstone, daughter of media mogul Sumner Redstone, runs the holding company.The split was a way to separate Viacom’s networks like MTV, Nickelodeon and BET, which were very successful at the time, from the slower growth of the CBS network.But over time, the two companies’ fates were reversed. CBS under longtime chief Les Moonves became more profitable and Viacom struggled, hurt by weakness in its Paramount studio and people dropping cable in favour of streaming.A recombination makes sense now because media companies are bulking up their content offerings to better compete for ad dollars. But Moonves was against the idea, as CBS was stronger and more profitable than Viacom.Moonves’ ouster last year in the face of multiple sexual misconduct allegations changed the dynamic. Under an agreement, Shari Redstone agreed not to push for a reunion for at least two years, but that left open the possibility of CBS itself pushing for it.Mae Anderson, The Associated Press read more

BMWs Ian Robertson and Boschs Peter Tyroller to headline 2012 SMMT International

The Society of Manufacturers and Traders is pleased to announce details of its fourth annual International Automotive Summit to be held at Clifford Chance, Canary Wharf, on 12 June 2012.Now firmly established as a must-attend event in the automotive calendar, the 2012 Summit will include keynote addresses from global industry figures Ian Robertson, BMW, Board Member, Global Sales and Marketing, and Peter Tyroller, Member, Board of Management, Robert Bosch GmbH. The event will once again be chaired by national broadcaster, Justin Webb.This year’s Summit centres around three main streams:The Changing Face of Vehicle Retail, supported by GForces Web Management.Innovation in Ultra Low Carbon Technology, supported by EDF Energy.Growth in the Supply Chain.Throughout the day, panellists will explore each stream with intensely focussed session topics including the changing nature of the consumer and the emergence of the ultra-low carbon vehicle market, plus the key technologies manufacturers are adopting and – with the shift towards low carbon transportation – how the UK can play a major role in technology innovation.  Attendees will also gain insight into vehicle manufacturers’ future purchasing strategies, funding opportunities, capital investment and workforce training in the supply chain.Keenly awaited, up to 250 delegates are expected from across the full breadth of the automotive industry.  At the Summit in 2011, vehicle manufacturers represented included Bentley, BMW, Ford, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Peugeot-Citroën, Renault, Suzuki, Tata Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen.  Last year’s attendees included eight European or national CEOs / MDs of car companies as well as a number of directors of marketing, corporate and public affairs, engineering, assembly, sales, planning and operations.Delegate numbers are strictly limited, and tickets are available on a first come, first served basis. An earlybird booking rate of £187.50 + VAT for SMMT members and £300 + VAT for non-members is available until 2 March. Full price tickets are priced at £250 + VAT for SMMT members and £400 +VAT for non-members. To book your place at the SMMT International Automotive Summit, please visit www.smmt.co.uk/summit or call SMMT on 0808 178 8818.To discuss advertising, exhibition and sponsorship opportunities, please contact 0808 178 8818 or summit@smmt.co.uk.The event will run alongside the Canary Wharf Motorexpo which runs from 11-17 June.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more