×

Viacom Pitches Marketing Services With Ad Time in Upfront Talks

Viacom may be known best for its cable networks, but the company responsible for Trevor Noah, SpongeBob Squarepants and a revival of “The Jersey Shore” hopes Madison Avenue will soon recognize it for something else.
As the company makes the rounds of media-buying agencies in advance of TV’s annual “upfront” sales session, executives are touting a growing array of marketing services Viacom can also provide.
“We are not looking at our relationship with marketers as starting with ‘What’s your ad budget?’ but ‘What’s your issue?’ ‘What are you trying to solve for?’ And then we can offer a basket of solutions,” said Sean Moran, head of marketing and partner solutions for Viacom, in an interview.
The company made two recent acquisitions that help bolster its efforts. Its January purchase of WhoSay, an influencer-marketing agency, and its February purchase of event agency VidCon give Viacom more heft in delivering everything from shopper marketing to branded content.
Viacom has also worked out new agreements with some of its distributors that allow for it to sell a greater amount of digital media inventory to advertisers, said Moran.
“This is a complete marketing solutions approach, rather than just an ad sales approach,” he said.
Viacom may be under new pressure to demonstrate the value of its TV operations. It’s no secret the company grappled for several months with ratings drops at some of its flagship networks, and it is currently in the midst of a wrestling match with CBS Corp. over terms of a potential merger. Both companies are controlled by the Redstone family’s National Amusements, which has directed the two to explore a merger. CBS has suggested a price well below what Viacom thinks it deserves.
As well executives visit with agencies, they are pitching new activity at several Viacom networks. The recently launched Paramount Network is being described as a place for premium content and experimental ad formats, for instance. Executives are also touting ratings growth at VH-1 and a revived “Jersey Shore” series at MTV.
Late night TV continues to win interest from advertisers, and Moran suggested his team would win new attention for an ongoing expansion of MTV’s “TRL” into the daypart. “We will offer the youngest possible audience in that late night time frame,” Moran said, and package that with Comedy Central’s late-night schedule.
Moran said he felt current demand from
advertisers was robust, which could augur a healthy upfront. “The demand that we’ve been seeing let’s us know it will be an active marketplace and there probably will be more demand than supply,” he added.

More TV

  • CHAMBERS

    'Chambers' Canceled After One Season at Netflix

    Netflix has canceled the drama series “Chambers” after one season. The series followed a teenager who gets a heart transplant and becomes consumed with the mystery surrounding her donor. The series starred Uma Thurman, Tony Goldwyn, Sivan Alyra Rose, Lilliya Reid, Nicholas Galitzine, Kyanna Simone Simpson, Lilli Kay, Sarah Mezzanotte, and Griffin Powell-Arcand. Leah Rachel [...]

  • The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

    TV News Roundup: 'The Daily Show with Trevor Noah' to Air Live After Democratic Debates

    In today’s roundup, Trevor Noah announces two live specials after the first Democratic debates and the new season of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” sets a premiere date. SPECIALS “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” will broadcast live following the Democratic Party’s first 2020 presidential primary debates on June 26 and 27 at 11 p.m. ET on Comedy Central. [...]

  • Agents Accuse Writers Guild of Refusing

    Writers Guild 'Plans to Respond' to Agents' Proposal as Frustration Mounts

    In a sign of increasing frustration, Hollywood agents have accused the Writers Guild of America of foot-dragging in the bitter two-month dispute. “It has become clear as more days pass that the Guild is not interested in making a deal,” said the negotiating committee for the agents in statement issued Tuesday. “Over the past year, [...]

  • Samantha Bee Variety

    Samantha Bee Isn't Thrilled to Be the Last Woman Standing in Late Night

    Samantha Bee is now the only female host in late night, and that’s a stat she’s not happy about. “It’s a bit unsettling,” Bee recently told Variety. “It’s been a bad year to be a woman in this space. It’s not really a badge that I want to wear.” Shows that have been canceled over [...]

  • XXXTentacion

    Watch a Trailer for New XXXTentacion Documentary

    A year to the day after rapper XXXTentacion was murdered, his estate has released a trailer for an upcoming documentary on the artist, which the announcement says is “releasing soon.” The clip, which includes narration from X himself, captures quick flashes of him reuniting with family and friends, engaging with fans, and working on music. In the [...]

  • The-Saddest-Goal

    Fascism and Fútbol Feature in Chilean Series Project ‘The Saddest Goal’

    PAMPLONA, Spain – Chilean production company Manufactura de Películas pitched its unconventional Pinochet-era drama “The Saddest Goal” today at Spain’s Conecta Fiction TV co-production and networking TV event, held in Pamplona. Set during qualification for the 1974 FIFA World Cup, a period of great political instability in Chile, “The Saddest Goal” kicks off as the [...]

  • Spain’s La Claqueta, Portugal’s SPi Ink

    Conecta Fiction: La Claqueta and SPi Ink Fiction Co-Production Pact

    Spain’s Seville-based shingle La Claqueta and Portugal’s SPi have clinched a co-development agreement for three fiction projects a year. Companies first made contact at last year’s Conecta Fiction, the annual co-production meet in Spain. The companies have also pacted to co-produce the animated feature-length docu “El viaje más largo” in collaboration with Portuguese pubcaster RTP [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content