The new $25 billion media empire that emerged from the remarriage of CBS and Viacom began trading Thursday, but questions remain about how the combined company will compete in an increasingly crowded landscape of companies beaming content into America's homes and phones.
CBS and Viacom completed their merger on Wednesday. The company is now known as ViacomCBS Inc. VIACAVIAC.
The deal reunites the companies under the control of 96-year-old billionaire Sumner Redstone and his daughter, Shari — who will effectively be in charge — and their holding company National Amusements Inc. The companies broke apart from each other 13 years ago.
What's Next For ViacomCBS?
The combined companies will move into the next generation era of TV, one dominated by streaming, with ownership of more than 140,000 TV episodes and more than 3,500 movies, including the CBS TV and Paramount movie libraries.
That may sound like a lot, but in comparison to an increasing number of rivals, it's not necessarily enough.
The company, which includes CBS Television and CBS News, Australia's Network 10, and cable networks including Showtime, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, in addition to Paramount studios, will be trying to compete against bigger and more content-rich competitors like Walt Disney Co DIS.
How it will do that isn't clear. Management has said the new company envisions both selling content to competitors like Disney and Netflix, Inc. NFLX, while also competing with them.
ViacomCBS Cost Savings
Smaller acquisitions that could bring in a studio film library, for example, may be under consideration, but the new company isn't in a position to make huge additional investments in content, having said it will find $500 million in cost savings. Rival network NBC News reported Thursday the move could bring staff reductions, possibly as many as 2,000 job cuts.
Bob Bakish, who as CEO will run the day-to-day operations of the company under Shari Redstone, will have as an early task trying to drum up excitement at an investor conference next week.
ViacomCBS is expected to generate about $28 billion a year in revenue.
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