Dauman: Viacom Will Lead Industry Through OTT Pivot

Viacom is poised to drive revenue through targeted advertising  through over-the-top distribution and platforms hatched by both incumbent multichannel providers and new virtual pay TV distributors, CEO Philippe Dauman said Thursday.

“There is no question that our industry is in the midst of significant change. Change can create uncertainty and concern. But with change also comes opportunity, and Viacom is seizing every opportunity,” Dauman said on an earnings call scheduled to discuss fiscal third quarter results.

Like his counterparts at Time Warner Inc. and Walt Disney Co., Dauman said that Viacom will hit the accelerator on investments in original programming capable of driving content and ad revenue on any screen.

While Viacom sees opportunity to launch direct-to-consumer version of networks anchored by hit original programs like Nick Jr.’s Blaze and The Monster Machine and Paw Patrol, Dauman said the media giant will also continue to work with pay TV distributors like Charter Communications to monetize content through dynamic ad insertion in video-on-demand programming distributed through both TVs and mobile devices.

“We are being extremely proactive in taking all measures that are necessary to address the changing media landscape,” Dauman said. “I feel we’ll come out on the other side in a much stronger place,” he added.

Predictions:
With its investment in premium movie channel Epix, Viacom was one of the first major content providers to pitch broadband providers the idea of using a multiplatform content service to market faster broadband tiers.

Look for Viacom to team up with pay TV incumbents such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T to market bundles of wired and wireless Internet access and niche kids and family programming packages. If multichannel providers can demonstrate to Viacom that they can deliver addressable advertising to individual viewers and devices, and help the company monetize original content, it will have less incentives to launch direct-to-consumer versions of networks like Nickelodeon.

But Viacom, which has licensed advanced digital rights to Verizon for its upcoming over-the-top subscription service, will continue to supply linear networks and on-demand content to new virtual pay TV services backed by software, telecom and consumer electronics giants.

“Mobile is a very exciting opportunity. Mobile video distribution [distribution and ad revenue] will begin to be a significant and rapidly growing opportunity as we head into the next fiscal year,” Dauman added.

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