Don’t expect Bob Bakish to blindly follow the rest of Big Media into its consolidation craze.
Viacom’s CEO made clear his company can go it alone even as competing conglomerates seem engaged in a race for scale. “Viacom doesn’t really require a transformational deal,” he said during a keynote Q&A last week at Variety’s CES Summit in Las Vegas, which you can listen to in full on the latest episode of the Variety podcast Strictly Business. “I continue to believe there’s a lot of value in assets that we already own.”
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With an oft-speculated merger with CBS Corp. looming, Bakish discussed how his turnaround strategy has been playing across Viacom, from the rejuvenation at Paramount Pictures to the focus on “flagship” cable brands like Nickelodeon.
While he acknowledged how disruption has rattled the media business, he remains bullish that Viacom is equipped to take on the future.
“Mobile distribution really is the catalyst that will turn this whole decline-of-television argument on its head,” said. “You can look at this transformation as glass have full or half empty. I’m half full.”
“Strictly Business” is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment. Check out previous “Strictly Business” episodes featuring Discovery CEO David Zaslav, ICM Partners agent Esther Newberg, and HBO chairman/CEO Richard Plepler. A new episode debuts each Tuesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.