Viacom Split Firms Start Strongly

05 January 2006

The strong stock exchange performance of the newly formed CBS Corporation in the US will be welcomed by executives looking for signs of life and dollars in traditional media.

The company, born from the much heralded split of the Viacom conglomerate and led by ceo Leslie Moonves, finished up 2.8% after its first trading day on the New York Stock Exchange [WAMN: 03-Jan-06].

Moonves said he was delighted by the trend and averred: "The future looks bright for us and no one should underestimate the potency of traditional media."

CBS has in its stable the former conglomerate's less dynamic businesses such as the CBS television network, radio stations and outdoor advertising.

Moonves aims to squeeze more revenue out of the top rated network as it bids to move on to digital platforms and embrace the internet's influence on TV.

In November CBS signed an agreement with cable giant Comcast that will provide the latter's subscribers with on-demand access to popular shows for just 99 cents (€0.83; £0.56) an episode [WAMN: 09-Nov-05]. And there will be more such deals to come.

The Viacom monikered other half of the split, headed by Tom Freston, was also speedily out of the NYSE trading blocks and closed up 3.9%

Freston's empire includes the hugely successful cable channels, MTV and Nickelodeon plus the Paramount film studios. His challenge will lay in making the channels as dominant on the web as they are on TV.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online and Hollywood; additional content by WARC staff