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Viacom’s Shift Of Cox Augurs Push Into PPV

Viacom may be gearing up for a major push into pay-per-view with the shift of Tony Cox from chairman and chief executive officer of Showtime Networks Inc. to the new post of corporate senior VP of Viacom Inc.

In the new post, Cox will focus on how Viacom and all of its units, including Paramount, can turn the sluggish pay-per-view business into a profit-generator.

At Showtime, Cox was in charge of Viacom’s SET Pay Per View, which produces concerts and prizefights for distribution by Viewer’s Choice, Request and other PPV distributors.

Succeeding Cox as chief executive officer is Matt Blank, who moves up from president and chief operating officer of Showtime Networks Inc.

Sources say the Showtime changes became inevitable last year when Viacom merged with Blockbuster.

In the reallocation of authority, Blockbuster took over the running of Showtime Networks, meaning that instead of continuing to report to Frank Biondi, CEO of Viacom, Cox ended up with a new boss, Steven Berrard, president and CEO of the Blockbuster Entertainment Group.

In their new assignments, Blank reports to Berrard while Cox reports to Biondi.