NEW YORK: Viacom, the American media conglomerate, will open up three new content hubs in London, New York, and Buenos Aires, with a brief to extend the company’s short-form digital content output for three of the company’s brands: MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central.

The move, reported by Digiday, is intended to continue the impact that the company’s short-form content produced in the UK has already had. In 2017, the company produced 14 series in short format; this year, Comedy Central alone intends to produce 20 short-form series. The company has been making significant in-roads on YouTube, where MTV International has doubled its subscribers since late 2017.

“We have always made content in the UK. This is adding a lot more fuel to how we utilize formats in several markets and how the hubs work with each other to increase output,” said Brendan Yam, vice president and general manager of Viacom Digital Studios International.

The company is working through the knots of international expansion, creating three hubs through which to create content but with just one social publishing platform, a central language version capability, and a central bank of IP and formats to be used across the three.

“Viacom is future-proofing themselves,” said Jake Cassels, managing director at The Connected Set, a production studio. “But as content production gets more global and distributed on global platforms, it’s going to become harder to do those deals,” he added, referring to the UK practice of selling international rights on a country-by-country basis, rather than all in one go.

Meanwhile, YouTube’s dominance (in the UK, especially) means that monetizing short-form content will be difficult. The money, says Yam, will have to come from elsewhere. “Branded content, doing production for other partners and including social reach and activity has been critical. We’re interested in seeing [direct revenue from platforms] develop further.”

Meanwhile, the company is also looking to make deals with pay-TV operators, publishers, and even mobile carriers.

Sourced from Digiday; additional content by WARC staff