Freston on: Synergy

"I want to have the best shows possible"

Synergy’s great, but rely too much on corporate cousins and you may be doomed, according to MTV Networks chief Tom Freston.

As Viacom grows, so does MTV’s stable of siblings: Paramount, CBS, UPN and so on. That’s also meant a gradual sharing of resources.

UPN, for example, aired MTV’s “Celebrity Deathmatch” last spring. WWF wrestling programming airs on UPN, MTV and TNN, where repeats of CBS’ “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” will wind up.

“If you can figure out something where you can keep the money circulating in your own inhouse system, that’s great,” Freston says. “But you’re not really going to grow your business if you focus on that first. I want to have the best shows possible.”

In this age of consolidation, Freston points out that competitors on one front are partners on another. Time Warner continues to discuss launching a music channel to rival MTV — yet also owns a big chunk of MTV’s distribution through its multiple system operators, while Warner Bros.’ recording artists provide content for the channel.

“I might have the best business relationship with someone who directly competes with Paramount,” he notes. “No company has it all. The worlds are too complicated now. It’s too interwoven.”

More Biz

  • Kevin Durant Rich Kleiman

    Kevin Durant Shares His Media Biz Playbook at Variety Sports & Entertainment Breakfast

    Synergy’s great, but rely too much on corporate cousins and you may be doomed, according to MTV Networks chief Tom Freston. As Viacom grows, so does MTV’s stable of siblings: Paramount, CBS, UPN and so on. That’s also meant a gradual sharing of resources. UPN, for example, aired MTV’s “Celebrity Deathmatch” last spring. WWF wrestling […]

  • David-Zaslav-Discovery Sun Valley Conference

    A Look at Key Trends Facing Media and Tech Companies Ahead of Q2 Earnings

    Synergy’s great, but rely too much on corporate cousins and you may be doomed, according to MTV Networks chief Tom Freston. As Viacom grows, so does MTV’s stable of siblings: Paramount, CBS, UPN and so on. That’s also meant a gradual sharing of resources. UPN, for example, aired MTV’s “Celebrity Deathmatch” last spring. WWF wrestling […]

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    Spotify Launches Feature to Help Artists, Labels Submit Music to Playlists

    Synergy’s great, but rely too much on corporate cousins and you may be doomed, according to MTV Networks chief Tom Freston. As Viacom grows, so does MTV’s stable of siblings: Paramount, CBS, UPN and so on. That’s also meant a gradual sharing of resources. UPN, for example, aired MTV’s “Celebrity Deathmatch” last spring. WWF wrestling […]

  • Comcast

    Comcast Drops Out of Bidding War With Disney for 21st Century Fox Assets to Focus on Sky

    Synergy’s great, but rely too much on corporate cousins and you may be doomed, according to MTV Networks chief Tom Freston. As Viacom grows, so does MTV’s stable of siblings: Paramount, CBS, UPN and so on. That’s also meant a gradual sharing of resources. UPN, for example, aired MTV’s “Celebrity Deathmatch” last spring. WWF wrestling […]

  • The Bureau French TV Show

    French Firm Federation Steps Into the U.S. Market

    Synergy’s great, but rely too much on corporate cousins and you may be doomed, according to MTV Networks chief Tom Freston. As Viacom grows, so does MTV’s stable of siblings: Paramount, CBS, UPN and so on. That’s also meant a gradual sharing of resources. UPN, for example, aired MTV’s “Celebrity Deathmatch” last spring. WWF wrestling […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content