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Viacom Restructuring: Co. Will Take $785M Charge

Viacom said it would take a charge of $785 million in its fiscal second quarter, the result of a company-wide restructuring that eliminated a bevy of senior posts and included writedowns for programming that failed to generate satisfactory audience ratings.

Beset in recent months by ratings shortfalls, the owner of MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central said it would streamline the company to rework it for an era in which digital media is getting more emphasis.

Already, Viacom has rearranged the structure of its cable networks, collapsing three operating units into two. Comedy Central is now grouped with MTV, Logo and VH1, while TV Land and CMT have been placed alongside Nickelodeon.

“This strategic realignment, which is largely completed, will allow us to sharpen our focus on driving long-term growth in a rapidly changing industry,” said Philippe Dauman, Viacom’s chief executive, in a statement. “We will transition rapidly into the future, generate substantial cost savings and continue to increase our investment in original programming to bring our audiences great content in new and groundbreaking ways.”

The company estimated it would save $350 million annually due to the effort, though only about $175 million in its fiscal year 2015.

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