Viacom


View Larger Map

Viacom (NYSE: VIA) (NYSE: VIAB)(NYSE: VNV), short for "Video & Audio Communications", is a United States-based media conglomerate with interests primarily in, but not limited to, cinema and cable television. As of 2010, it is the world's fourth-largest media conglomerate, behind The Walt Disney Company, Time Warner and News Corporation.
The current Viacom was created on December 31, 2005 as a spinoff from CBS Corporation, which changed its name from Viacom at the same time. CBS, not Viacom, retains control of the over-the-air broadcasting, TV production, outdoor advertising, subscription pay television (Showtime) and publishing assets (Simon & Schuster) formerly owned by the larger company. However, National Amusements, through Redstone, retains majority control of Viacom. Predecessor firms of CBS Corporation include Gulf + Western, which later became Paramount Communications Inc., and Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

Most Recently Known for OWNerSHIP (free speech) of the People: Copyright complaints against YouTube.
Viacom International Inc. v. YouTube, Inc.
In February 2007, Viacom sent upwards of 100,000 DMCA takedown notices to the video-sharing site YouTube. Of the 100,000, notices approximately 60–70 non-infringing videos were removed under the auspices of copyright infringement.[11]
On March 13, 2007, Viacom filed a US$1 billion lawsuit against Google and YouTube alleging massive copyright infringement, alleging that users frequently uploaded copyrighted material to YouTube—enough to cause a hit in revenue for Viacom and a gain in advertisement revenue for YouTube.[12] The complaint contended that almost 160,000 unauthorized clips of Viacom’s programming were made available on YouTube and that these clips had collectively been viewed more than 1.5 billion times. However, the suit was seen by some as hypocritical. They claim that Viacom, through various programming on subsidiary channels, was infringing the rights of many Youtube users by uploading their videos without permission or compensation.
In July 2008, the case generated controversy when District Judge Louis Stanton ruled that YouTube was required to hand over data detailing the viewing habits of every user who had ever watched videos on the site. [13] Judge Stanton rejected Viacom's request for YouTube to hand over the source code of its search engine system, saying that the code was a trade secret. [14] Google and Viacom later agreed to allow Google to anonymize all the data before handing it over to Viacom. [15]
On June 23, 2010, Judge Louis Stanton ruled in Google's favor in a motion for summary judgment, holding that Google was protected by provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, notwithstanding evidence of intentional copyright infringement. Viacom announced its intention to appeal the ruling.[16]
[edit]Viacom International


Early years
In March 2005, the prior Viacom announced plans of looking into splitting the company into two publicly traded companies. The company was not only dealing with a stagnating stock price, but also the rivalry between Leslie Moonves and Tom Freston, longtime heads of CBS and MTV Networks, respectively.
After the departure of Mel Karmazin in 2004, Redstone, who served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, decided to split the offices of President and Chief Operating Officer between Moonves and Freston. Redstone was set to retire in the near future, and a split would be a creative solution to the matter of replacing him. It was also intended to provide alternative investments that would be more appealing to different investors - one a high cash flow, lower growth company that could afford to pay a substantial dividend and the other a growing company that would have greater investment opportunities and therefore would not be expected to pay a dividend.[citation needed]
The split was approved by Viacom's board June 14, 2005. The original Viacom changed its name to CBS Corporation and is headed by Moonves. It now includes Viacom's "slow growth businesses", namely CBS, The CW (formerly The WB and UPN), CBS Radio, Simon & Schuster, CBS Outdoor, Showtime, CBS Records, CBS Television Studios and most television production assets.
According to some analysts, these were suffocating the growth of the MTV Networks' cable businesses. At the time of the split, CBS Corporation was also given control of Paramount Parks. CBS sold Paramount Parks to amusement parks management company Cedar Fair, L.P. on June 30, 2006.
A new company, the present Viacom, and was headed by Freston. It comprises MTV Networks, BET Networks, and Paramount Pictures' movie studio and home entertainment operations. These businesses are categorized as the high-growth businesses (MTV Networks and BET Networks in particular), and if they were split into a separate company, it would be more valuable.
Sumner Redstone still controls approximately 80 percent of the voting stock of both companies, and is the chairman of both companies.
[edit]2005
In June, Viacom announced its purchase of Neopets, a virtual pet website. That December, Paramount announced it would acquire DreamWorks. All indications are that the whole of DreamWorks—both live-comedy film and TV studios, albeit not the DreamWorks archive—which was sold to a group led by George Soros in March 2006 (nor the animated unit, which was not part of the deal) will remain owned by Viacom, even though CBS acquired Paramount's own TV studio.
[edit]2006
On February 1, Paramount completed its long-awaited acquisition of DreamWorks. On April 24, Viacom obtained Xfire. In August, just hours before announcing its most recent quarterly earnings, Viacom announced that it had acquired Atom Entertainment for $200 million. In September, Viacom acquired game developer Harmonix for $175 million dollars.
[edit]2007
In February, Viacom ordered leaked copyrighted video clips be taken off the videosharing service YouTube for copyright reasons. On February 21, Viacom publicly announced they would be offering free online access to their own material through Silicon Valley's distributor Joost thanks to a thorough content licensing deal.
On May 21, Viacom entered into a 50-50 joint venture with Indian media company Global Broadcast News to form Viacom-18 which will house Viacom's existing channels in India: MTV, VH1 and Nick as well as Network 18's Bollywood movie business. All future Viacom content for India and new ventures such as a Hindi entertainment channel and a Hindi movie channel would be housed in this joint venture.
On November 8, Viacom announced that MTV Tempo would be sold to founder and Viacom Deputy General Council Frederick Morton, Jr., becoming Tempo Networks.
On December 19, Viacom signed a five year, $500 million contract with Microsoft that included content sharing and advertisement. The deal allowed Microsoft to license many shows from Viacom owned cable television and film studios for use on Xbox Live and MSN. The deal also made Viacom a preferred publisher partner for casual game development and distribution through MSN and Windows. On the advertisement side of the deal, Microsoft's Atlas ad-serving division became the exclusive provider of previously unsold advertising inventory on Viacom owned web sites. Also, Microsoft purchased a large amount of advertising on Viacom owned broadcasts and online networks. Finally, Microsoft will also collaborate on promotions and sponsorships for MTV and BET award shows, two Viacom owned cable networks.Viacom thought about sueing fans of shows that viacom owned.[5]
[edit]2008
On December 4, three weeks before Christmas, Viacom announced layoffs of 850 personnel, or 7% of their workforce.[6] At the end of the year, Time Warner Cable (along with partner Bright House Networks) and Viacom's MTV Networks could not come to terms for the renewal of any Viacom channel beyond the end of year.[7][8] Time Warner Cable's operations include New York City and Los Angeles, with Bright House including the Tampa Bay and Orlando markets, both top-20 markets. This blackout was narrowly avoided when a zero-hour deal was reached shortly after 12 Midnight ET on January 1, 2009.[9]
[edit]2010
On May 5, 2010, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Viacom's Comedy Central "is developing a whole animated series around Jesus Christ" who, according to the network, wants to escape the shadow of his "powerful but apathetic father.".[10]
in January 2010, Viacom returns in the Canadian business to have partnerships with Corus Entertainment to participate with Teletoon, YTV and Nelvana.
in May 2010, Viacom started the partnership with Turner Broadcasting System for products and content, telecommunications media company Corus Entertainment is Canada's alliance with Viacom, the three alliances becomes its own group.
in June 2010, Viacom, in partnership with Corus Entertainment has signed an agreement for the creation of a new channel in the future, according to these companies will have a 23% shareholder participatory Viacom and Turner.
in October 2010, Viacom started the partnership with Toler Entertainment to assist with production and animation of later production of childrens programs. The partnership allows Viacom to create and produce programs to be shown in early morning, weekday, slots that are intended to be target towards children between the ages of three years old to seven years old.

Viacom International
As with the old Viacom, the current company owns Viacom International, which is the formal owner of copyrights associated with Viacom's corporate website and its cable networks. This division now owns the rights to a majority of Elvis Presley films made for Paramount Pictures, such as Blue Hawaii and King Creole.
It also continues to focus on its own in-house productions made for its various networks (MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, etc.) – these programs include Dora the Explorer, Pinky Dinky Doo, Invader ZIM, The Hills, Spongebob Squarepants and Behind The Music.
[edit]Corporate governance

The previous board of directors of Viacom were George S. Abrams, David Andelman, Joseph Califano, Jr., William Cohen, Philippe Dauman, Alan Greenberg, Charles Phillips, Shari Redstone, Sumner Redstone, Frederic Salerno, William Schwartz, and Robert D. Walter.
Following the Viacom/CBS split, the Viacom board consisted of George S. Abrams, Philippe Dauman, Thomas E. Dooley, Ellen V. Futter, Robert Kraft, Alan Greenberg, Charles Phillips, Sumner Redstone (Chairman), Shari Redstone (non-executive Vice-Chair), Frederic Salerno, and William Schwartz. As of 2010, the Board consists of George Abrams, Philippe Dauman, Thomas E. Dooley, Alan Greenberg, Robert Kraft, Blythe McGarvie, Charles Phillips, Shari E. Redstone, Sumner M. Redstone, Frederic Salerno, and William Schwartz.
On September 5, 2006, Tom Freston resigned from the company. He was replaced by Philippe P. Dauman.

Viacom Assets:
: List of assets owned by Viacom
Film production and distribution: Viacom International, Paramount Pictures, MTV Films, Nickelodeon Movies
Television networks: Comedy Central, Logo, BET, Spike, TV Land, Nick@Nite, Nickelodeon, TeenNick, Nick Jr., MTV, VH1, MTV2, Tr3́s, CMT, Palladia
Video gaming: GameTrailers, Neopets
New media: MTV New Media