Freston Comments on Joint Venture Rumors

Sep 13, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Viacom President and co-Chief Operating Officer Tom Freston said Tuesday that his group is in “a host of discussions” and is talking with “several outside partners” about the possibility of forming joint ventures to launch new channels, but made clear no decisions have yet been made.

Mr. Freston’s comments, made Tuesday at a Merrill Lynch investor conference in Pasadena, Calif., came on the heels of a press report Tuesday that indicated the cable programming giant was holding talks with Comcast about possibly forming joint ventures to launch a series of lifestyle channels.

“We are in a host of discussions with several outside partners,” he said, adding that no formal agreements have been reached.

According to an article in the New York Post, Viacom and Comcast have been holding talks about launching a series of channels that would be run by John Sykes, former president of Viacom’s radio unit Infiniti Broadcasting.

Mr. Freston played down the significance of launching a channel with a partner as not a new concept and noted the company has had a history of launching channels through joint ventures, has launched a British version of Nickelodeon with Sky Television and used partners in Russia and Japan to launch versions of MTV in those markets.

“It’s not unprecedented,” he said.