Early on in Netflix’s journey toward dominating the SVOD market, Viacom shows were a big draw for its service. Now Viacom is jumping back into business with Netflix.
According to The Information, Viacom will begin making shows directly for Netflix as part of a new deal. While plenty of other television studios like CBS and Warner Bros. make shows for Netflix, Viacom is taking it a step further by making network-branded shows. First up will be a Nickelodeon-branded show for Netflix.
Viacom CEO Bob Bakish told the publication that his company hopes to make shows based on other networks including BET, Comedy Central and MTV for many of the top SVODs and mobile carriers. He said that Viacom today launched MTV Studios to work on reviving old shows like “The Real World” for streaming services.
Viacom’s new Netflix deal is curious considering the apparent impact on ratings the company experienced after signing early deals with Netflix for many of its popular children’s programs.
The deal is also interesting given Viacom’s plans to launch its own direct-to-consumer streaming service later this year. Viacom’s service will house thousands of hours of content from the company’s content library, something Viacom said it’s able to do since it’s stopped licensing its content to SVODs like Netflix.
“It’s important to note that one of the reasons we’re able to do this is because we’ve chosen to curtail the amount of content that we license into third-party D2C experiences. That’s a decision that we made when [Bakish] rolled out his strategic plan last year. And although that’s had some short-term pain for us … it’s really important that we’ve built that library to be able to use for our own strategic purposes and fuel offerings like this,” Viacom CFO Wade Davis said during an earnings call in February.
In the meantime, Viacom has once found itself on the outside looking in for a skinny bundle streaming service; this time (at least initially) it’s AT&T Watch.
AT&T today confirmed the channel lineup for its $15 per month streaming service, which will be available for free with AT&T’s new unlimited wireless plans. Among the 31 channels available in the bundle are A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC America, Cartoon Network, CNN, Discovery, Food Network, HGTV, History, IFC, Lifetime, OWN, TBS, TCM, TLC, TNT, TruTV and Viceland.
Absent are any of Viacom’s networks, although AT&T is promising BET, Comedy Central, MTV2, Nicktoons, Teen Nick and VH1 will be added soon after launch. Surprisingly, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Paramount Network (four out of Viacom’s six flagship networks) don’t currently show up on the channel list for Watch.
Viacom did not immediately respond to a request for comment on those networks’ absence.
Philo, a comparable $16 per month streaming bundle with no sports, features all of Viacom’s six core networks and adds MTV2, Teen Nick and VH1 to its introductory bundle.
Viacom’s channels are present in major virtual MVPDs like DirecTV Now and Sling TV but are not included with more recent options like Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV.