CBS and Viacom re-merge: what's the impact?


CBS and Viacom are one: the two companies agreed to merge on Tuesday - in the latest act of consolidation among traditional media companies.

The new company will be known as ViacomCBS.

Effectively, the merger brings the two companies back together after 13 years apart and comes as the media landscape changes. Ir's the latest in a raft of mergers and acquisitions in the USA, marked by rapid changes in the consumption and distribution of programming.

In the UK, Viacom is known for its ownership of Channel 5, alongside its long standing children's and music / reality brands Nickelodeon and MTV. CBS operates a number of free-to-air channels in the UK, as part of a partnership with AMC.

CBS News is currently in a partnership with BBC News. Two years ago, it replaced ABC News as the BBC's long-standing US news partner, which sees CBS reporters appear on BBC News and vice-versa. Whether ViacomCBS will allow this arrangement to continue, which would give the BBC preferential treatment over Viacom's Channel 5 in terms of news content, remains to be seen. Channel 5 News is currently produced by ITN.

Depending on the outcome of the merger and the ongoing partnership with AMC, UK viewers may see the Viacom and CBS Freeview channels restructure under a common owner, otherwise it's mainly over in the USA where the changes will have an impact:  The combined company will possess a portfolio of powerful consumer brands, including CBS, Showtime, Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central and Paramount Network, as well as one of the largest libraries of iconic intellectual property, spanning every key genre and addressing consumers of all ages and demographics.

This library comprises 140,000+ TV episodes and 3,600+ film titles, and reunites fan-favorite franchises such as Star Trek and Mission: Impossible. The combined company will also have more than 750 series currently ordered to or in production. In addition, it will include a major Hollywood film studio, Paramount Pictures, which creates and distributes feature-length entertainment around the world. The combined company will also be one of the largest content spenders, with more than $13 billion spent in the last 12 months.

And ViacomCBS is set to exercise its muscle when it comes to US carriage agreements with cable operators, including Comcast.

Shari Redstone, who will chair ViacomCBS said:
"I am really excited to see these two great companies come together so that they can realise the incredible power of their combined assets."