On the decline of television, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said driverless cars connected to the 5G would add viewing minutes in the same way as the bedroom TV.


Viacom CEO Bob Bakish is not ready to celebrate the victory yet. "I would never say that the mission is accomplished, and certainly not in the changing world in which we live," Bakish said during his keynote speech at VarietyCES Summit Wednesday.

It's good that Bakish has taken on a number of challenges since coming to the head of the media company at the end of 2016. "Society needed a turnaround," he said. Two years ago, Paramount had lost $ 0.5 billion and Viacom was also struggling on other fronts.

Two years later, the film business of the company is much better. "Paramount is in a fundamentally better place," he said. This is also reflected in the financial results: "We have recorded seven consecutive quarterly improvements in our profits," said Bakish.

So, what is the next step for Viacom? Perhaps a major merger, perhaps the long-standing partnership with CBS? Bakish seemed dismissive. "Our plan is fundamentally based on the assets we have," he said. "We do not need a transformative agreement." Instead, Viacom focused on smaller deals through acquisitions of companies such as Vidcon and Awesomeness.

bob backish cover shoot

Instead of merging to compete, Viacom seeks to diversify its distribution. "We are active in the OTT space," he said. "We are also active in SVOD through our third-party production business." A growing part of this strategy will be mobile, Bakish said. "Mobile distribution is really the catalyst that will reverse the entire decline of televised argumentation."

The 5G will be one of the factors that will move the mobile, but Bakish has also turned more towards driverless cars connected to the 5G. "The last vestige of non-video consumption is the automobile," he said. In the future, cars could add a lot more viewing minutes, just as the bedroom TV did many years ago. "It's coming," Bakish joked.

Bakish added that the company was also seeking new distribution deals, including its partnership with Facebook to broadcast MTV programming, in order to keep the company's brands "in the lead" of consumers.

Finally, Bakish also qualified the new border platforms for advanced advertising, citing for example Dish and Sling TV. Dish was still primarily serving ads in the traditional way, while the Sling advertising sector is much more targeted. "All Sling ads are dynamic," he said.