Viacom CEO-prexy Philippe Dauman delivered an upbeat assessment of his company’s prospects at Mipcom on Monday.
Sumner Redstone’s empire has been in the news siince a Friday announcement of the sale of non-voting shares in Viacom and CBS stock.
Dauman was in Cannes to deliver a keynote speech on creativity in the digital world, but he took time to address the crisis in the real world, too. He admitted that the speed of events linked to the credit crises in recent weeks had surprised him but said he was confident the company would survive in good shape. “We have always prided ourselves on operating efficiently, and that is important in days like this. Whatever happens, we will get out of it,” he declared.
Dauman said he had confidence in Redstone’s ability to navigate the company through the challenges that lay ahead.
“If you have a life-threatening crisis, there is no one on the planet you would more want to have by your side, helping you figure out how to get out of it, than Sumner Redstone,” he said.
Dauman said that as Viacom depends on advertising for only a third of its revenue, the downturn would not hit the company as hard as it will other media congloms. Its growing investment in consumer products, live events and vidgaming would also soften the blow, he said. He identified franchises and brands as the central pillars supporting the company’s business going forward.
“If you center your slate around your franchises and brands, and you supplement that with films like ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,’ you have the possibility strategically of building a sound business,” Dauman said. “Controlling distribution allows us to control the destiny of our product.”
Dauman identified new media as an area where the company was breaking new ground but stressed that the content had to come first, not the means by which it was distributed. “Our focus is on utilizing digital platforms not to replace the TV experience but to extend and deepen it,” he said.