- This week's merger of Viacom and CBS will create the world's largest seller of advertising spots and space, with a media portfolio spanning assets such as Paramount, MTV, Blockbuster, the CBS television network and the outdoor giant TDI.
The deal creates a global media and entertainment colossus worth DLR80 billion and with annual revenues in excess of DLR20 billion and is expected to herald a wave of international media consolidations as rival players seek to capitalise on new TV ownership rules in the US.
The merger pools Viacom's predominantly TV-based interests with CBS' TV, radio, and outdoor holdings. According to a joint statement by the two companies, the merged operation would be "the largest seller of advertising across the media landscape. Reaching the greatest number of viewers and listeners of any media enterprise, the new Viacom will be the premier outlet for advertisers in the world."
In the UK the group's assets include Viacom's Paramount, MTV, Nickelodeon, and VH1 TV channels and Blockbuster Video as well as the CBS-owned outdoor advertising company, TDI. To date neither Viacom nor CBS have made much attempt to leverage their group assets in local markets, but this week's merger is expected to see the Viacom and CBS media brands coming together to leverage their new group size to offer commercial opportunities for advertisers.
Viacom's chief executive, Sumner Redstone, will head up the merged company, which will also be called Viacom, while CBS' chief executive, Mel Karmazin, will become president and chief operating officer.
The merger follows the end of a US ban on any one company owning more than one American TV station in a region. The new rules are expected to see moves from companies such as NBC and ABC to capitalise on the new ownership opportunities. However, the Viacom/CBS deal has yet to be given the green light by US regulators.