×

Viacom’s Dauman: ‘Mob mentality’ around piracy bill

Conglom topper shares dim hopes for SOPA's revival

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman bemoaned the “mob mentality” that sunk legislation like SOPA protecting content owners in a Q&A on Tuesday at the D:Dive into Media conference.

“There was a lot of rhetoric–unfortunate rhetoric–and misinformation put out there that focused on the SOPA part of it,” he said. “It became almost religious dogma that any legislation that might emerge through the process built around the Senate bill would have broken the Internet, created censorship around the world and the fact of the matter is I think the bill that would have emerged would have been very reasonable.”

The conglom chieftain made his remarks just weeks after the SOPA/PIPA proposals lost steam in the wake of a considerable outcry online led by Internet giants including Wikipedia and Google. As a result, it’s doubtful new legislation will get much traction this year, according to Dauman.

Dauman noted that objectionable portions of SOPA/PIPA would have been weeded out in tmie. “If you have a legitimate argument with a particular provision–DNS blocking was taken out of both bills before–it should be discussed rationally and then you get legislation.”

The Viacom CEO called on the content and technology industries to get on the same page given their mutual interests. “We should be working together.”

Dauman went so far as to suggest that the piracy that the proposed legislation could have curbed has played a role in the decision for Viacom-owned studio Paramount to make fewer movies.

Dauman, who was introduced as “Philly D” in a pretaped segment featuring Snooki, star of “Jersey Shore” on Viacom-owned cable network, touched on a wide variety of content-related subjects in discussion with AllThingsD editor Peter Kafka.

Dauman bluntly assessed the struggles of the studios to get momentum going in the premium VOD window but said that further experimentation was necessary. The sensitivities of establishing a new window just months after a theatrical run were not lost on him given how important it is to driving interest for movies all the way through its lifecycle.

“If theaters go away, then you don’t have the promotional window,” he said. ” We want to preserve the theatrical window for now. Right now there doesn’t appear there’s a good substituion for that window.”

He referenced his conglom’s cable channels, which he characterized as costing distributors less than the growing number of sports networks despite the fact they drove more viewing time. Dauman said the CEO of a major distributor who he declined to identify told him that half of his subscriber base didn’t watch any sports networks, according to its set-top-box data.

“I do believe premium content should command premium value,” said Dauman. “But there’s a fine line where if the balance is out of whack, then an adjustment needs to occur. And the market will dictate that.”

Dauman described the international markets as key to the growth of Viacom, particularly given how digital platforms are driving new buyers even in the pay TV window, including Skye Deutscheland and Lovefilm. “We now are at the point where you have online distributors that economically are becoming as important, and in many ways more important, than incumbent distributors.”

More TV

  • How Cooking-Travel Shows Are Changing TV

    How Cooking-Travel Shows Are Changing TV

    Toyo hunches over his street food stove, cooking tuna with a blow torch, stopping to light his cigarette with it and produce a cheeky grin. The Japanese chef, who owns a roadside stand in the city of Osaka, is one of many highlighted in the Netflix series “Street Food.” Over the course of 30 minutes, [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Leaders Approve Proposal for New Film-TV Contract

    The SAG-AFTRA national board has approved proposals for a successor deal to its master contract covering feature film and primetime television — a key step in the upcoming negotiations cycle with companies. The board approved the package Saturday with the performers union declining to reveal any specifics — its usual policy. The board established the wages [...]

  • Shannen Doherty'Jennie Garth: A Little Bit

    Shannen Doherty Joins 'Riverdale' Season 4 in Luke Perry Tribute

    “Riverdale” is planning to make a special tribute to Luke Perry. The show’s executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa announced at Comic-Con that Shannen Doherty, Perry’s longtime friend and “Beverly Hills 90210” co-star, will guest star in the season 4 premiere. The tribute episode will “reflect Perry’s enduring legacy and the indelible imprint his character” Fred Andrews [...]

  • Supernatural CW

    'Supernatural' Team Gets Emotional Final Season Sendoff at Comic-Con

    The cast and creative team of “Supernatural” bid a fond farewell to the attendees of San Diego Comic-Con on Sunday. At the show’s final panel in the gargantuan Hall H, the team thanked the fans for all of their support over the years as the series prepares to enter its final season. “I’m trying not [...]

  • Alicia Rodis photographed by Alicia Rodis

    SAG-AFTRA Moves to Standardize Guidelines for Intimacy Coordinators

    SAG-AFTRA is moving to standardize guidelines for intimacy coordinators as part of an effort to establish policies for union members when their work involves nudity and simulated sex. “Our goal is to normalize and promote the use of intimacy coordinators within our industry,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “Intimacy coordinators provide an important safety net for [...]

  • SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases

    SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases 'The Magicians' Season 5 Clip (Watch)

    In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, Syfy shares a clip from “The Magicians” Season 5, and Amazon sets the Season 4 premiere of “The Expanse.” CASTING Julie Gonzalo and Staz Nair have joined the cast of “Supergirl” for its upcoming fifth season. Gonzalo will portray iconic DC character Andrea Rojas aka Acrata, a polished businesswoman [...]

  • Doom Patrol -- Ep. 101 --

    'Doom Patrol' Renewed, Season 2 to Stream on DC Universe and HBO Max

    “Doom Patrol” has been renewed for a second season and will soon be available outside of DC Universe. At San Diego Comic-Con, series executive producer Jeremy Carver and star Diane Guerrero announced not only that the show will be back for another season but also that it will be available on HBO Max, the upcoming [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content