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Viacom’s Dauman Favors Cross-Platform Sales

Sep 19, 2006  •  Post A Comment

New Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman told an investor conference that he was looking for new ways to monetize the audience the company’s content attracts.

The company can sell specialized audiences, such as kids, or teen or males, but he said he was setting up a new unit to sell the company’s aggregated audiences. “We can also sell cross-platform,” he said. “There are many different propositions.”

Mr. Dauman said he foresaw the company doing only small acquisitions to build its digital business, spending from a few million or so up to a maximum of $100 million. He used a sports analogy, saying he wanted to get up-and-coming Internet companies while they were still “draft choices” as opposed to “free agents.”

Mr. Dauman also said he saw opportunities to expand BET, where Reginald Hudlin already has been upgrading the network’s programming. Mr. Dauman said he was considering a BET line of films at Paramount Pictures and BET channels in other parts of the world, possibly starting in the U.K.

Mr. Dauman also said that whether or not CBS decides to renew Showtime’s output deal for Paramount films, Paramount will have another pay-TV deal in place when the current one ends in 2007. “If not with Les [Moonves, CBS CEO], then with someone else,” he said, adding, “Showtime probably needs it.” He acknowledged that Paramount had gone through a slow period, but said the current slate of pictures was very exciting.