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As we approach Q2 earnings season, CBS Corp. and Viacom have set the same reporting date — August 8 — in what apparently coulddouble as a merger announcement, according to information obtained by CNBC. The companies have been circling a re-combination for over a year, after splitting up in 2006. Business Insider Intelligence
The potential merger comes as the traditional media landscape consolidates for scale to better compete with the tech giants including Netflix, Apple, and Amazon that are increasingly investing in content.
A quick refresher: Comcast officially acquired NBCUniversal in 2013, AT&T now owns WarnerMedia, and Disney is now integrating the majority of 21st Century Fox assets. Now that CBS CEO Les Moonves — who had previously resisted the merger — has been ousted, the merger appears more likely to proceed.
The content possibilities for the combined company are vast, and that strength would allow a combined entity to better compete as cord-cutting steadily worsens and the streaming wars reach their peak. Both companies have focused on developing out niche SVOD offerings that target specific audience interests, and with somesuccess. But this success is bound to be limited as the market continues to crowd.
If the companies do merge, the best route could be paring down niche streaming offerings — which have had arocky year overall, compared with larger services — and instead launching a unified SVOD. Much like Disney is doing with Hulu and its recently shuttered FX+, for example, the companies could close smaller services like Noggin or Paramount+ and bring their content to an existing — or brand new — paltform that has better odds of scaling.
Additionally, both companies have strong options for developing out original content, like Viacom’s Awesomeness TV and CBS’ Simon & Schuster. With their combined resources, the companies could focus on creating shows and movies ripe for their own services or even foroptioning out. Overall, a potential merger seems to point up for both companies, and also more likely to happen than ever.
Here’s a shortlist of the key properties the companies currently hold:
- Broadcast networks: CBS broadcast channel;The CW (50% stake — joint venture with Warner Bros.)
- Cable networks: Showtime Networks Inc. (Showtime, The Movie Channel, Flix), CBS Sports Network (CBSSN); Pop, Smithsonian Channel (joint venture with Smithsonian Institution)
- SVOD:CBS All Access (CBS broadcast),Showtime (standalone SVOD),Smithsonian Channel Plus
- 24/7 ad-supported streaming networks:CBSN (news),CBS Sports HQ (sports-focused)
- Publishing: Simon & Schuster
- TV and film studios: CBS Television Studios, CBS Studios International, CBS Films
- Cable networks: MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TV Land, BET, CMT, VH1, Telefe (Argentina), Channel 5 (UK), etc.
- Film, TV, and digital studios:Paramount Pictures, Paramount Television,Viacom Digital Studios (includingAwesomeness TV)
- SVOD:Paramount+,BET+ (forthcoming), Noggin (joint venture with Sesame Workshop)
- AVOD:Pluto TV (set forinternational expansion)
- Live events:VidCon (digital video conference), etc.
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