There are several most popular global mass media companies in America. One of them is Viacom. In the beginning, it was just CBS Films, Inc., but in 1971, the company had separated and was renamed as Viacom (Video and Audio Communications). As other big TV companies, Viacom has rights for large number of different popular series. Still, it was not enough to become greater.
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In 1985, Viacom bought MTV network with its well-performed MTV music channel, Nickelodeon (which brought the company its highly developed programming and glamorous look), and music channel VH-1 (channel for our parents mostly). It was a great change in global and company’s programming. Nevertheless, as many other global mass media companies, Viacom competes with HBO (American premium cable television network). Because of that competition, Showtime channel that was also a part of Viacom Company lost thousands of its customers.
The founder of Viacom Company, Sumner Redstone, despite all failures, saw great potential and high perspectives in MTV and Nickelodeon channels. He understood that more changes should be done not only in programming, but in management and workforce as well. Showtime got its new immediately hired chief executive, HBO worker in the past - Frank Biondi. From that time, exactly from 1985, global mass media company Viacom has been running.
Everything could go well, the company could stay on the same successful position, but Redstone had other plans. He was thinking how to make Viacom even more profitable, to support its growth, develop and expand its programming, especially during 1990s. The company’s strength was in its content programming. Actually, the entertainment software was the key to Viacom future success.
Redstone decided then that they should change the content giving distribution channels the new message to carry. Biondi played the great role in these changes. He was working very hard and pretty long to develop, expand, and build new programming strengths of Viacom and its channels. He paid his attention specifically to the success and development of MTV channels. His goal was to make MTV network popular and promote it as some global brands. So, from being just some music channel, MTV changed into the channel with new highly developed programming. They did not promote some exact programs, stars, or shows, but built its new unique networks. MTV started its programming in Asia, Latin America, and Europe. It was popular not among old people but among youth.
In the middle of 1990s, Redstone made a decision to position Viacom programming even on higher level than it was in the beginning. His goal was to make Viacom a cost-conscious, content-driven company. His intentions were to promote its entertainment software through all distribution systems in every corner on the Earth. In a few years, an explosive growth had happened. Redstone went from controlling just several hundred movie theatres to larger properties: Paramount, Blockbuster, etc. From that time, Redstone was not only a founder of just one mass media company; he was a creator of the huge media empire.
Later, there were much larger changes made: in 2000, Redstone bought CBS television network adding its television to his movie empire. Still, that did not help. Despite the years of prosperity and success, Viacom did not meet its all aggressive goals. Moreover, in 2005, Redstone decided to separate slow-growing CBS side from the one fast-growing. However, with some years, even that did not bring results. With technological progress and Internet technologies development, the past Viacom content strategy became a failure. Every brand company started rebuilding – Disney, Paramount, even DreamWorks that Redstone was so eager to buy. Unfortunately, Redstone was late in using Internet strategy left behind by other mass media CEOs. Viacom was failing. Just then, Redstone decided to retire and give his place to Philip Daunman.
New CEO took into consideration lessons that were given during all this years. Now, his goal is not only “A Passion to Win”, but in knowing his audience and magnifying the Redstone family network.
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