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Viacom Prepares for Content Arms Race: ‘We’re Looking Beyond Our Own Networks’

Several of Hollywood’s major players are expected to take content off the market to prop up their expected direct-to-consumer offerings, but Viacom’s message for international content buyers is that its shop will remain open.

“Whilst our competitors prioritize their own platforms, Viacom is moving in a different direction,” David Lynn, chief of Viacom International Media Networks, said in an address at MipTV on Tuesday. “We’re looking beyond our own networks to cement deeper relationships with you, our distribution partners.”

Lynn’s comments came a day after CBS distribution chief Armando Nunez said CBS would continue to supply the market even as Disney-Fox and Warner Bros. are expected to hold on to programming for their soon-to-launch SVOD services.

The Viacom exec said the recently minted Viacom International Studios and Paramount’s sales arm will continue to bring content to the wider market as the content business shifts up a gear and there is “unprecedented” demand for its programming.

“It feels as if we are in the middle of a global arms race with broadcasters and streamers competing to secure the best content and the best talent,” Lynn said. “Demand for content seems insatiable, and that represents a major growth opportunity for all of us in the business of production or syndication.”

With a slide referencing the likes of Amazon, Disney+, and Netflix in the background, he said that Viacom, which recently bought OTT player Pluto TV, “is not rushing to go vertical.”

“We’re developing plans for direct-to-consumer including Pluto TV, but we don’t see our own streaming platforms as the primary window for our premium content,” Lynn said.

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