6. Viacom Inc./CBS Corp.

Revenues 2014: $ 27.589 billion (€ 20.767 billion)

Overview

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Viacom, a former vertically integrated media company was split into two separate quoted corporations in 2006. Both are still controlled by company patriarch Sumner Redstone through his Holding National Amusements Inc.: Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. The new company – CBS – is primarily associated with the free TV business revolving around the nationwide US network of the same name, the TV production as well as publishers and public advertising. Cable stations MTV, Nickelodeon and Hollywood film studio Paramount continue to operate under the Viacom name. The following portrait still adheres to the overall construction and disposition.

General Information

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Headquarters CBS Corp.:
51 W. 52nd St., New York, NY 10019-6188, USA
Phone: 001-212-975-4321
Fax: 001-212-975-4516
Internet: www.cbscorporation.com

Branches: Television, radio, TV-Licensing, theme parks, advertising, book publishing
Legal form: Public company
Financial year: 1/1. – 12/31
Founding year: 1912 (Paramount Pictures), 1927 (CBS: first Columbia Phonograph Broadcasting System, then Columbia Broadcasting System)

Headquarters (new) Viacom Inc.:
1515 Broadway, New York, NY 10036, USA
Phone: 001-212-258-6000
Fax: 001-212-258-6464
Internet: www.viacom.com

Branches: Film, Television, Licensing
Legal form: Public company
Financial year: 10/1 – 9/30
Founding year: 1970 (Viacom Inc.)

 

Table I: Revenues 2008-2015 ($ Mio.)
  (new) Viacom CBS Corp.
2008     14,62513,950
2009     13,61913,015
2010     9,337*14,060
2011      14,91414,245
201213,88714,089
201313,79415,284
201413,78313,806
201513,26813,886

* Due to restructuring measures Viacom's financial year 2010 included only 9 months.

Table II: Profits 2008-2015 ($ Mio.)
                                (new) Viacom Inc.CBS Corp.
2008           5,838(12,159)*
2009           1,9041,011
2010           3,3481,816
2011           3,7102,529
20123,9012,983
20133,9423,259
20144,1252,896
20151,9222,417

Executives and Directors

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Management CBS Corp.:

  • Leslie Moonves, President & CEO
  • Anthony G. Ambrosio, Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Administration
  • Jonathan H. Anschell, Executive Vice President, Deputy General Counsel and Secretary  
  • Lawrence Tu, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer
  • Joseph R. Ianiello, Chief Operating Officer
  • Richard M. Jones, Senior Vice President & General Tax Counsel
  • John Orlando, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs
  • Gil Schwartz, EVP, Corporate Communications
  • Larry Liding, Senior Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer
  • Adam Townsend, Executive Vice President, Investor Relations

 

Board of Directors, CBS Corp.:

  • Leslie Moonves, CBS
  • Sumner M. Redstone, CBS
  • Shari Redstone, CBS
  • David R. Andelman, Lourie & Cutler, P.C.
  • Joseph A. Califano Jr., The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse
  • William S. Cohen, The Cohen Group
  • Gary L. Countryman, Liberty Mutual Group
  • Charles K. Gifford, Bank of America
  • Leonard Goldberg, Mandy Films Inc.
  • Bruce S. Gordon, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  • Linda M. Griego, Griego Enterprises Inc.
  • Arnold Kopelson, Kopelson Entertainment
  • Doug Morris, Universal Music Group
  • Frederic V. Salerno, Verizon Communications, Inc.

 

Management Viacom Inc.:

  • Robert Bakish, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Viacom International Media Networks
  • James Bombassei, Senior Vice President, Investor Relations
  • Wade Davis, Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President, Strategy & Corporate Development
  • Carl D. Folta, Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications
  • Michael D. Fricklas, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
  • Brad Grey, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Paramount Pictures Corporation
  • DeDe Lea, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs
  • Debra L. Lee, Chairman & Executive Officer, BET Networks
  • Doug Herzog, President, Viacom Music & Entertainment Group
  • Scott M. Mills, Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Administration
  • Cyma Zarghami, President, Kids & Family

 

Board of Directors, Viacom Inc.:

  • Shari Redstone, CBS/Viacom
  • Sumner M. Redstone, CBS/Viacom
  • George S. Abrams, Winer and Abrams
  • Philippe P. Dauman, Viacom
  • Thomas E. Dooley, Viacom
  • Blythe J. McGarvie, Leadership for International Finance, LLC
  • Charles E. Phillips, Jr., Infor Global Solutions
  • Frederic V. Salerno, Verizon Communications
  • William Schwartz, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
  • Christiana Falcone Sorrell, World Economic Forum
  • Deborah Norville, Inside Edition

Management

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Despite the company split, Sumner Murry Redstone retained control over both new companies – through his cinema chain Holding National Amusements. In terms of strategy, both companies sought to completely concentrate on their role as content provider. As a result, CBS disposed of his theme park division, amongst other things. The challenge for the dual company lay in the extension of the companies’ own TV brands to new media platforms: CBS and Viacom faced the imperative to evolve from being traditional, linear program companies to a multiplatform provider for the digital world.

Redstone likes to present himself as the embodiment of the American pioneer mythology. His father, a linoleum tradesman, sold door to door in Boston before he decided to launch a drive-in cinema and change the family name from Rothstein to Redstone. Initially, the son went to Harvard, finished law school and worked for the ministry of justice, intermittently settled as a lawyer but ended up taking on the family business in the end.

Yet, as unchallenged as Redstone’s position may be, his management qualities have frequently been questioned a fortiori. He is not exactly vaunted as a ‘hands-on-executive’ of a practical disposition. Furthermore, he is considered a difficult boss, not condoning anyone being in a position next to him, does not rely on continuity when it comes to personnel policy and tends to go with his gut feeling when it comes to decision-making.  

In the meantime, the ‘Golden Boys of Television’ governed the ongoing businesses: With MTV CEO Tom Freston and CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, Redstone installed a team of TV managers at the companies’ top. Freston succeeded in establishing the cable TV group around MTV as the driving force behind the company. First and foremost, Moonvest earned his merits by leading the rotting CBS Network back to the pinnacle of the business in less than ten years. Mooonves and Freston are known to be smart ‘business people’, who tend to cultivate a subtle and pragmatic modus operandi.      

However, September 2006 saw a surprising change at the top of ‘New Viacom’. Once again, Redstone did justice to his reputation as a ruthless ruler: Because of a divergence in opinion regarding the company’s online strategy and also due to the disappointment in relation to the ongoing weak performance of the company stock, he fired highly decorated TV manager Freston. According to reports, the 80-year-old Redstone had been particularly nettled that he lost out to competitor Rupert Murdoch (News Corp.) in the takeover wars concerning the ‘Myspace’ website. Ever since, Philippe Dauman has been at the helm of Viacom, moving into Freston’s place.

In contrast to Viacom, the company’s leadership team at CBS has been distinguished by a period of continuity lasting long after the turning point in 2006: CBS CEO Leslie Moonves has been the chairman and CEO of CBS since 2003 and also controls the CBS Corporation, which was split off from Viacom. Meanwhile, Sumner Redstone faced family troubles in 2006. A nephew of Redstone sued the entrepreneur and made claims towards a piece of the empire. Earlier on, Redstone’s son Brent already took legal actions against his father. Both refused to accept the fact that Redstone himself controlled all family shares of the several media holdings. Redstone came to an agreement with his son who had already left the company in 2009 and won the court case against his nephew in 2009.

Not less spectacular was Redstone’s renunciation of his daughter Shari, who stood at the top of National Amusements family holding and had already been elected to be Redstone’s successor. Questioned about his successor by journalist from an American high gloss magazine, Redstone stated that Shari has indeed fallen into disgrace: “My daughter and I have friendly business differences”. As of recently, an agreement between father and daughter has been looming ahead after all: According to reports, Shari allegedly agreed to forego shares of Viacom in favour of controlling the company’s own cinema chains.

Despite his age, Sumner Redstone leaves no doubt to be substantiated when it comes to proving that he still holds all the reins and nobody but himself may decide over the fate of company associates such as director Oliver Stone, actor Tom Cruise or TV stars like David Letterman. His statement: “I am Viacom” illustrates his take on the situation.

Business Fields

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Following the split of CBS / Viacom early in 2006, the business fields of the respective and independent companies were rearranged: Viacom primarily operates the TV and film division as well as Internet platforms and services. CBS on the other hand includes the widely ramified CBS Television network, which contains Simon & Schuster publishers, CBS Radio and of course, production companies and cross media brands.

Viacom

Television
The ‘Media Networks’ division includes the BET Networks, tailored towards connoisseurs of black music and Afro-American culture, as well as the MTV Networks and its core brands MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and VH1.

Film
The film division, ‘Filmed Entertainment’, consists of the Paramount Pictures Corporation, which itself contains Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage, MTV Films, Nickelodeon movies as well as Home Entertainment.

CBS Corporation

Television
The CBS Television network is a widely ramified TV empire, which includes production and distribution companies on top of its own and licensed stations. In 2006, the CW Network – a station principally targeting female audiences – was founded as joint venture with Warner Bros. (Time Warner).

Publishing
American major publishing house Simon & Schuster and its subsidiaries annually release more than 2000 book titles. Founded back in 1924, the publishing group was sold to the Gulf+Western conglomerate in 1975 and kept expanding ever since due ogoing purchases of numerous smaller publishers. In 1994, the publisher conglomerate, which had partially been operating through Paramount Communications was acquired by (old) Viacom and integrated into the company’s structures. Since Viacom’s split, Simon & Schuster are part of the CBS Corporation.

Radio
CBS operates 130 stations and that makes it one of the largest radio groups in the USA. The initially autonomous Infinity Broadcasting Corporation merged with CBS in 1997 and had been a subsidiary of Viacom until the end of 2005. Since the restructuring, the broadcasting chain operates under the new name CBS Radio and became part of the CBS group, catering for all kinds of genres and formats. When it comes to Internet radio, CBS Radio closely cooperates with AOL and handles the sales of advertising time for all 200 AOL Internet stations.

Advertising
CBS Outdoor is one of the world’s largest public advertising companies in more than 50 countries.

Online
CBS includes a variety of information and entertainment services concerned with sports, technology and kitchen. The market consistently expanded over the last years: CBS bought Internet radio station Last.fm in 2007 for 280 million US Dollar, followed by the TV/Online company CNET Networks for 1.8 billion US Dollars in 2008.

Content

Institute of Media and Communications Policy

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Media Pluralism in Europe

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Partners

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Mediadb.eu is funded by medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg,

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the Open Society Foundations' Media Program,

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Germany's Federal Agency for Civic Education,

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the Rudolf Augstein Foundation,

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the city of Cologne, Germany,

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and the State of Thuringia, Department of Commerce.