Viacom, CBS Split Seen as Positive by Local Affiliate
Source: Arkansas Business.com The recently announced spinoff of CBS as a separate company from media giant Viacom is seen as a positive deal from the top all the way down to its local affiliates, said Larry Audas, KTHV-TV, Channel 11, general manager.
Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. will begin operating as separate publicly traded companies by the first quarter of 2006.
"All it does is puts the network in a better position to focus more energy on providing a better product," Audas said.
Audas said he was in attendance as CBS held its annual network meeting two weeks ago at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, where newly appointed CBS Corp. leader Les Moonves spoke to general managers from affiliates across the country about the split.
"The mood was very upbeat and positive," said Audas. "This is something that both sides see as a chance to improve on what they have to offer."
Under the deal, CBS Corp. will control the CBS and UPN broadcasting networks, Viacom Television Stations Group, Infinity Broadcasting, Viacom Outdoor, Paramount and King World television production operations, Showtime, Simon & Schuster, and Paramount Parks.
Viacom's end of the deal has the company in control of its cable operations. The company will house MTV Networks, which includes MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Comedy Central, CMT, Spike TV, TV Land and others. It will also control BET, Paramount Pictures and Paramount Home Entertainment.
KTHV is owned and operated by another media conglomerate, Gannett Co., which will still have control over nearly everything except the national programming passed on by CBS.
"We're positioned by Gannett to make good local decisions here, and that's what we do. Then we interact with CBS in regard to its network programming and those types of things," Audas said.