Viacom has plans for more direct-to-consumer streaming products

Bob Bakish
Viacom CEO Bob Bakish (Viacom)

Viacom’s direct-to-consumer streaming product efforts are often overshadowed by those of Disney and WarnerMedia. Nevertheless, the company has plans to expand.

Viacom’s current slate of direct-to-consumer streaming products includes Noggin and Comedy Central Now, both of which are also distributed through aggregated video service hubs like Amazon Channels and Roku. Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said during a UBS investor conference that his company also has plans to launch DTC products specializing in African-American-, Spanish language- and reality-focused programming.

“Those aren’t too hard to figure out when you think about what our IP library looks like, and most of those are going to be very heavy library products,” Bakish said.

His comments imply that Viacom might be planning a BET direct-to-consumer product and other services leaning on Viacom’s reality and Spanish-language library content.

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Bakish also said Viacom still sees a lot of opportunity within ad-supported video-on-demand services. He said AVOD is useful to funnel customers into Viacom’s subscription products.

The other big part of Viacom’s OTT plans is the company’s studio efforts to create content for third-party streaming platforms. Bakish said those efforts, which include creating original MTV and Nickelodeon series for partners like Netflix and Facebook, will continue to drive awareness of Viacom’s flagship brands.

“When you put all that together, that’s how we’re playing the space. I think it’s a differentiated strategy, but I’m convinced it’s the right strategy for Viacom and it’s not a strategy where you’re going to spend a hundred billion dollars and acquire a company,” Bakish said.

Viacom’s digital growth is being driven by its $1 billion studio production business. MTV Studios, launched in June, is bringing back MTV’s “The Real World” for Facebook, and Nickelodeon is reviving “Avatar: The Last Airbender” for Netflix. Viacom’s newly acquired Awesomeness produced Netflix’s “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” and Viacom International Studios announced two new series for Amazon earlier this week.