Viacom to focus on Comedy Central, MTV and ‘core channels’


Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central are among Viacom’s new focus

Leaders at Viacom have approved a plan that will shift more attention to channels like Comedy Central and MTV while hoping those channels can be relied on to earn more carriage fees.

A new strategic plan was approved by the company’s board on Monday to focus on six channel brands while attempting to repair its relationships with distribution partners, according to Fox Business.

Whether that means that Pay-TV providers will be charged more for those core channels remains to be seen.

Viacom’s decision comes in the wake of in a report by the Federal Communications Commission released three weeks ago.

That report indicated that pay-TV packages will get more expensive.

Pay-TV providers expect to increase its rates by 3 to 4 percent this year. The increase will come alongside additional on fees for “broadcast TV” and regional sports.

Viacom has no immediate plans to shut down any channels, according to Fox Business. But more spending on content will shift to the six brands — at the expense of weaker ones like TV Land and CMT. Viacom will also “lean more heavily on them to earn carriage fees,” Fox Business reported.

The brands Viacom will focus on are Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., MTV, Comedy Central, BET and Spike.

Will Viacom channels return to PlayStation Vue?

In November, Sony announced they would drop its Viacom channel lineup from its live TV service PlayStation Vue over a reported price dispute.

At the time, Dwayne Benefield, head of PlayStation Vue, suggested in a statement that the decision came down to a pricing dispute.

“As part of our ongoing evaluation of the PlayStation Vue offering, we have determined that removing the bundle of channels from Viacom is the best way for us to continue to offer the most compelling value to our fans,” he said.

Whether Viacom’s plans include making a new deal with Sony remains to be seen.

PlayStation Vue carried all six channels that Viacom now plans to focus on along with MTV Live.

After the split, Viacom went on to sell some of those channels to Sling TV. But subscribers could only get such channels through various add-ons.

Viacom saw its profits fall 27 percent during its third fiscal quarter, according to Variety. PlayStation Vue added BBC America, NBA TV along with more local CBS and FOX channels. Sony said it would also add Vice to its lineup, but it has yet to appear roughly three months after the announcement.

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