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|Industry||Entertainment, cable and satellite television|
ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks (formerly known as Warner Cable Communications, Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, MTV Networks and Viacom Media Networks) is an American mass media division of ViacomCBS that oversees the operations of many of its television channels and Internet brands. Its related international division is ViacomCBS Networks International.
On July 19, 1984, Warner Communications made the decision to divest Nickelodeon, MTV, and VH1 into a public corporation called MTV Networks, Inc.
On August 27, 1985, Warner sold 31% of MTV Networks to Viacom, with Warner also selling 19% of its Showtime/The Movie Channel, Inc. joint to Viacom as well.
In November 1985, Viacom bought the remaining 69% of MTV Networks from Warner and American Express for $326 million; this led to Viacom becoming a mass media company rather than simply a distribution company and ending Warner's venture into cable television until it added HBO and Cinemax as part of its merger with Time Inc. in 1990. Time Warner, as Warner Communications was now known at this time, would also purchase the Turner Broadcasting System, consisting of the TBS, TNT, CNN and Cartoon Network cable networks in 1996. Time Warner would retain Time Warner Cable until spinning off that division into a separate company in 2009; that unit would eventually become part of Spectrum, a brand of Charter Communications which was launched in 2014.
Viacom splits CBS and spins off Viacom (2006–2019)
In January 2006, the remnants of MTV Networks and Showtime Networks were separated following Viacom's split into two entities: CBS Corporation, which retained CBS, UPN, Simon & Schuster and Showtime Networks (Showtime, The Movie Channel, and Flix), and a spun-off company under the Viacom name, which took ownership of Paramount Pictures, BET Networks and MTV Networks (Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, and VH1). MTV Networks was renamed Viacom Media Networks in 2011.
In the fall of 2012, media analysts began to report that ratings among some of Viacom's leading brands in the U.S were experiencing declines in viewership. MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon were of most concern to investors as the three account for roughly 50% of Viacom's operating profit, estimated David Bank of RBC Capital Markets.
In 2017, Viacom announced a five-point restructuring plan, in which the company would pour most of its resources behind six "flagship brands". These were MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., BET, and Paramount Pictures. In February 2017, cable channels CMT and TV Land were moved from the Kids and Family Group to the Global Entertainment Group under Kevin Kay, joining up with Spike TV. During the same month, it was announced that Spike would be relaunched as Paramount Network in 2018, aligning with the namesake film studio and being positioned as Viacom's main general entertainment outlet.
In October 2018, Kevin Kay was announced to be leaving his position as head of the Entertainment Group. CMT was transferred from the Entertainment Group to the Music Group under president Chris McCarthy, with his exit. Executive Kent Alterman would take charge of Paramount Network and TV Land to go with his current leadership of Comedy Central and Bellator MMA.
Viacom re–merged with CBS to become ViacomCBS (2019–present)
In August 2019, Viacom announced that it would merge with CBS Corporation, reuniting the two entities under the new name ViacomCBS. The merger closed in early December 2019. Announced on November 11, 2019, as part of the re–merger, the Media Networks division was renamed ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks, and reorganized. MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo were reorganized into the "Entertainment & Youth Group", with the addition of Comedy Central, Paramount Network, Smithsonian Channel, and TV Land. BET Networks was merged with Showtime Networks under CEO David Nevins, who also temporarily gained oversight of Pop TV (formerly co-owned with Lionsgate); Pop TV was transferred to the Entertainment & Youth Group on January 15, 2020.
|MTV Entertainment Group|
|CMT||CMT||5||March 5, 1983|
|CMT Music||6||August 1, 1998|
|MTV||MTV||1||August 1, 1981|
|MTV2||August 1, 1996|
|MTV Classic||19||August 1, 1998|
|MTV Live||20||January 16, 2006|
|MTV Tres||August 1, 1998|
|MTVU||22||January 20, 2004|
|Other||Comedy Central||2||June 1, 1991|
|Logo||4||June 30, 2005|
|Paramount Network||3, 5||March 7, 1983|
|Smithsonian Channel||13||September 26, 2007|
|TV Land||14||April 29, 1996|
|VH1||21||January 1, 1985|
|Kids & Family Group|
|Nickelodeon||Nickelodeon||7||April 1, 1979|
|Nick Jr.||8||September 28, 2009|
|NickMusic||9||May 1, 2002|
|TeenNick||11||September 28, 2009|
|Nick at Nite||July 1, 1985|
|NickRewind||July 25, 2011|
|Noggin (mobile app)||February 2, 1999|
|Premium Content Group|
|BET Networks||BET||July 1, 1983|
|BET Gospel||July 1, 2002|
|BET Her||January 15, 1996|
|BET Hip–Hop||July 1, 2005|
|BET Jams||May 1, 2002|
|BET Soul||August 1, 1998|
|BET+ (streaming service)||September 19, 2019|
||12||May 9, 1976 (Showtime)
October 1, 1991 (Showtime 2)
September 1999 (SHOxBET)
1996 (Showtime Extreme)
March 10, 1998 (Showcase)
March 2001 (Showtime Family Zone, Next and Women)
|The Movie Channel
||18||December 1, 1979
October 1, 1997
|Flix||16||August 1, 1992|
Former channels and blocks
Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment
- Bravo (sold to Rainbow Media in 1984; later purchased by General Electric's NBC Entertainment division in 2003, and NBCUniversal a year after)
- Pinwheel (officially launched as Nickelodeon, Pinwheel block replaced with Nick Jr. block)
- Sight on Sound (officially launched as MTV)
MTV Networks/Viacom Media Networks/ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks
- Nickelodeon Games and Sports for Kids ((1999–2007, 2009 (Dish)); replaced by The N on cable & DirecTV, and Turner's Cartoon Network West on Dish Network)
- VH1 Uno (2000–2008); became MTVU
- NickMom (2012–2015)
- Noggin (TV Channel) (1999–2009); became Nick Jr. (TV Channel)
- TEENick (Nickelodeon block) 2001–2009); merged brand with "The N" to form TeenNick
- The N (Noggin block) (2002–2009)
- SNICK (1992–2005)
- Nick on CBS/Nick Jr. on CBS (2000–2006)
- Showtime Beyond (1999–2020), became SHO×BET
1Channel was originally launched under Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment and tested as Sight on Sound until 1981, when it officially launched as MTV.
4Channel was originally known as VH1 MegaHits before being discontinued in July 2005 to facilitate Logo launch.
6Channel created as VH1 Country before Viacom/CBS merger.
7Channel was originally launched under Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment and tested as Pinwheel until 1979, then was officially launched as Nickelodeon.
9Channel was originally known as MTV Hits before being rebranded as NickMusic on September 9, 2016.
10Channel was originally known as Nicktoons TV until 2003 when it was rebranded as Nicktoons which was rebranded again as Nicktoons Network in 2005 and finally rebranded yet again as Nicktoons (styled as “nicktoons”) once more in 2009.
11Channel was originally known as The N before being rebranded as TeenNick in 2009. The slot originally belonged to Nickelodeon Games and Sports for Kids from 1999 to 2007 (Dish Network in 2009, replaced with Turner's Cartoon Network West).
12Channel originally owned by the first incarnation of Viacom, and earlier with former partner Warner-Amex, and later became part of CBS Corporation following Viacom's split in 2006. Showtime was established in 1976, and The Movie Channel was established in 1973 as Star Channel and relaunched under its current name in 1979.
14Channel was originally a block on Nick at Nite.
15Previously owned by CBS Corporation, and before 2019, half of the share was owned by Lionsgate. Formerly known as TVGN, TV Guide Network, and TV Guide Channel.
16Established by Viacom's Showtime Networks in 1992 and later became part of CBS Corporation following Viacom's split in 2006.
17Channel was formerly Showtime Beyond from 1999 and was discontinued on July 15, 2020.
18Channel was originally known as "Star Channel" until it was bought by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment before becoming "The Movie Channel" in 1979.
19Channel was originally known as VH1 Smooth before being relaunched as VH1 Classic Rock on August 1, 1999. The channel was renamed VH1 Classic in 2000 and was later rebranded as MTV Classic on August 1, 2016.
21Channel was originally adivision of Warner Communications and the original owner of MTV, and launched on January 1, 1985, in the former space of Turner Broadcasting System's short-lived Cable Music Channel.
22Channel slot was originally VH1 Uno, until MTV Networks on Campus replaced VH1 Uno with a televised simulcast of MTVU.
The company has owned various other internet properties including virtual pets website Neopets; Flash game websites AddictingGames.com and Shockwave.com; online content production company Atom Entertainment; along with RateMyProfessors.com, GameTrailers, and iFilm, all of which have been shut down or sold off during 2000s and 2010s.
In 2006, Viacom acquired Harmonix, a video game studio oriented towards music video games and the original developer of the Guitar Hero franchise, for $175 million. The two subsequently collaborated on the creation of Rock Band. That year, Viacom also acquired the gaming–oriented communications platform Xfire.
In 2011, Viacom established a short–lived, in–house development studio known as 345 Games, which was dedicated primarily to developing games based on Comedy Central, MTV and Spike properties.
ViacomCBS Networks International
ViacomCBS Networks International is the sibling division of Domestic Media Networks. Its headquarters are in New York, London, Warsaw, and Buenos Aires, and manages the following brands: MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Channel 5, Network 10, Telefe and Colors.
The division is split into three regional units:
- ViacomCBS Networks UK & Australia
- ViacomCBS Networks EMEAA
- ViacomCBS Networks Northern Europe
- ViacomCBS Networks Southern Europe, Middle East, and Africa
- Viacom 18 (49%)
- ViacomCBS Networks Americas
Former brands include TMF and VIVA which, along with digital properties Nitrome Limited, Shockwave, Addicting Games, Atom Films and Xfire, have either since merged with other networks, were shut down, or were sold off.
- Walt Disney Television
- Turner Broadcasting System
- A&E Networks
- NBCUniversal Television and Streaming
- Discovery Networks
- AMC Networks
- Lafayette, Jon. "Viacom-CBS Merger Done Creating Larger TV Company". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
- "BUSINESS PEOPLE ; A Chief Is Named By MTV Networks". The New York Times. July 19, 1985. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
- "Viacom to Buy Warner Stake In Cable Units". The Washington Post. August 27, 1985.
- Fabrikant, Geraldine (September 17, 1986). "VIACOM CHIEF LEADS GROUP'S BUYOUT BID (Published 1986)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 23, 2021.
In November 1985, Viacom acquired MTV Networks for $326 million in cash and warrants. One-third of MTV was publicly owned; the rest was owned by Warner Communications and the American Express Company. At the same time, Viacom bought 50 percent of Showtime, the pay television service, that it did not already own for $184 million.
- Warner Amex Revamps
- Jannarone, John (October 28, 2012). "Audiences Fall for MTV, Comedy Central". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- Flint, Joe (October 10, 2012). "MTV has big ratings issue, analyst warns". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- Lieberman, David (February 9, 2017). "Viacom CEO Supports Paramount And Non-Core Networks – But For How Long?". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
- "Viacom Stock Rises on Restructuring". Multichannel. February 9, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
- "Viacom Unveils Five-Point Turnaround Plan (MESA)". February 9, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
- "Viacom outlines five point turnaround plan". TBI Vision. February 9, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
- Goldberg, Lesley (February 1, 2017). "Viacom Restructure: CMT, TV Land Moved to Kevin Kay's Global Entertainment Group". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- Andreeva, Nellie (February 9, 2017). "Spike President On Channel's Rebranding As The Paramount Network". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
- Andreeva, Nellie (February 9, 2017). "Spike To Change Name & Become The Paramount Network In Viacom Rebranding". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
- Holloway, Daniel; Otterson, Joe (October 25, 2018). "Kevin Kay Exits Paramount Network as Viacom Reorganizes Cable Channels". Variety. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- "Viacom Acquires Free Streaming Platform Pluto TV for $340 Million". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
- "Viacom Announces Completion of Pluto TV Acquisition". www.businesswire.com. March 4, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Spangler, Todd (April 29, 2019). "Viacom Launching 14 Free Channels on Pluto TV, Sets Broad Digital Originals Slate". Variety. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
- Peterson, Tim (April 16, 2019). "Viacom will debut 15 channels on Pluto TV to bolster its upfront pitch". Retrieved April 29, 2019.
- Szalai, George; Bond, Paul; Vlessing, Etan (August 13, 2019). "CBS, Viacom Strike Deal to Recombine". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
- "CBS and Viacom To Combine" (PDF). CBS. August 12, 2019.
- Steinberg, Brian (October 28, 2019). "Viacom, CBS Set to Merge in Early December". Variety. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
- Weprin, Alex (October 29, 2019). "Viacom-CBS Merger Now Expected to Close in 'Early December'". Billboard. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
- "ViacomCBS shakes up its content leadership teams following merger". TechCrunch. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
- Viacom and CBS Announce Content and Digital Leadership
- Littleton, Cynthia (January 15, 2020). "ViacomCBS Shuffles Oversight of Pop TV, Bellator MMA Amid Post-Merger Restructuring (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
- "Smithsonian sells its stake in... the Smithsonian Channel". www.bizjournals.com. November 8, 2019. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
- "Virtual MTV Launches Alpha of Browser-Based Experience". Engage Digital. February 5, 2009. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- Andrew Hampp (September 11, 2007). "Once Considered a YouTube Rival, MTV Does Away With IFilm.com". AdAge. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
- Kafka, Peter (June 9, 2014). "Viacom Makes a Web Video Bet, and Grabs a Piece of Defy Media". Recode. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
- "MTV acquires Harmonix for USD $175 million". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
- Kohler, Chris (September 14, 2007). "A Glimpse Into Harmonix's Punk-Rock Design Process". Wired. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
- "Viacom to acquire Xfire". GameSpot. April 24, 2006. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
- Halliday, Josh (December 24, 2010). "Viacom sells Rock Band game studio". The Guardian. London. Retrieved December 24, 2010.
- Marie, Meagan (December 23, 2010). "Viacom Sells Harmonix To Columbus Nova". Game Informer. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
- Wauters, Robin. "Exclusive: Titan Gaming Takes Xfire Off Viacom's Hands". TechCrunch. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
- "MTV Networks Group Launches 345 Games". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
- "MTV Latin America Confirms Rock Band Thirty Seconds to Mars to Perform at MTV World Stage Mexico" (Press release). Mexico: Prnewswire.com. Retrieved May 31, 2012.