Tag Archives: CBS

CBS, Viacom agree merger

US media giants CBS and Viacom have agreed their long-awaited merger in a move that will have a significant impact on the African media industry.

Bob Bakish

Viacom and CBS are both controlled by the Redstone family’s National Amusements, which previously attempted to combine them on two separate occasions in 2016 and 2018.

Merger talks restarted earlier this year and the pair have now entered into a definitive agreement to combine in an all-stock merger to create ViacomCBS Inc, which will be led by Bob Bakish as CEO.

Viacom operates several pay TV channels in Africa, including MTV, MTV Base, BET, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr and Comedy Central. Its channels are available on platforms including MultiChoice’s DStv in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa through Viacom International Media Networks Africa..

The combined entity will generate more than US$28bn in revenue, according to CBS and Viacom, with a library of more than 140,000 TV episodes and more than 3,600 film titles. It will also have more than 750 series currently ordered to or in production, with a content spend of US$13bn in the past 12 months.

The merger will see CBS, Showtime and CBS All Access combined with Viacom’s cable channels, which include Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and BET, as well as its movie studio Paramount Pictures.

CBS’s other assets include The CW, its joint venture with Warner Bros Entertainment, plus Network 10 in Australia, CBS Television Studios, CBS Global Distribution Group, Pop and Smithsonian Networks.

Viacom also owns Channel 5 in the UK, Telefe in Argentina and Colors in India, the latter via its partnership with TV18, as well as AVoD service Pluto TV.

Joe Ianniello, who had been serving as president and acting CEO at CBS since replacing Leslie Moonves, will be chairman and CEO of CBS following the merger.

In addition to Bakish and Ianniello, the leadership team of the combined company will include Christina Spade as executive VP and chief financial officer and Christa D’Alimonte as executive VP, general counsel and secretary.

The board of directors will consist of 13 members: six independent members from CBS, four independent members from Viacom, the president and CEO of ViacomCBS and two National Amusements designees. Shari Redstone will be its chair.

Existing CBS shareholders will own approximately 61% of the combined company and existing Viacom shareholders will own approximately 39% on a fully diluted basis. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to close by the calendar end of this year.

Viacom bought Showtime owner CBS in 2000, only for the two firms to split six years later. Since then, CBS has enjoyed growth while Viacom has struggled to expand as planned, although it has added to its list of assets in recent years.

The merger follows Disney’s US$52bn acquisition of major 21st Century Fox assets and AT&T’s US$85bn purchase of Time Warner as the US media industry undergoes a major period of consolidation in the face of disruption from streaming giants.

Viacom and CBS said the combined company would be positioned to “accelerate and expand” its direct-to-consumer strategy through its subscription and ad-supported offerings.

Bakish said: “Today marks an important day for CBS and Viacom as we unite our complementary assets and capabilities and become one of only a few companies with the breadth and depth of content and reach to shape the future of our industry.

“Our unique ability to produce premium and popular content for global audiences at scale – for our own platforms and for our partners around the world – will enable us to maximise our business for today, while positioning us to lead for years to come.”

Shari Redstone, vice-chair of the boards of directors at CBS and Viacom, said: “My father [National Amusements boss Sumner Redstone] once said ‘content is king,’ and never has that been more true than today. Through CBS and Viacom’s shared passion for premium content and innovation, we will establish a world-class, multiplatform media organisation that is well positioned for growth in a rapidly transforming industry.

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Nigeria’s Olowofoyeku joins CBS comedy

Nigerian actress Folake Olowofoyeku is starring in a new TV comedy series picked up by US broadcast network CBS.

Folake Olowofoyeku

Bob Hearts Abishola is one of seven pilots CBS ordered to series for the 2019/20 season in preparation for its Upfronts presentation to advertisers this week.

The show is the story of a middle-aged businessman who falls in love with his Nigerian nurse (Olowofoyeku) after suffering a heart attack.

It is written by Emmy winner Chuck Lorre (The Big Bang Theory, Two And a Half Men) and produced by Chuck Lorre Productions in association with Warner Bros Television.

Olowofoyeku has featured in shows including Transparent, The Gifted, Westworld, Modern Family, How to Get Away With Murder, Law & Order: SVU and 30 Rock.

She picked up the best Best Actress Award for her lead role in When They Could Fly at the ReelHeART International Film Festival in Toronto.

Bob Hearts Abishola will air on CBS on Mondays at 20.30 from this fall.

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Henshaw joins CBS global talent show

Nigerian actress Kate Henshaw has been chosen by US TV network CBS as one of the international judges on its new talent show The World’s Best.

Kate Henshaw

Nollywood regular Henshaw will join American stars such as Drew Barrymore, Faith Hill and RuPaul as judges on the show, which is being produced by MGM Television Group chairman Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice) and Warner Bros unscripted president Mike Darnell (American Idol, Little Big Shots).

The World’s Best is a high-profile global talent competition series that will see performers evaluated by judges as well as an international panel of 50 of the world’s most accomplished experts in various fields of entertainment.

The 10-episode series, to be hosted by Emmy winner James Corden, is set to premiere in the US on February 3 following Super Bowl LIII on CBS. The show is being produced by Warner Horizon, MGM and Corden’s company Fulwell 73 Productions, with Warner Bros handling global sales.

“I’m totally excited to finally announce that I am one of the international judges, proudly representing Nigeria in the new CBS global talent show The World’s Best,” said Henshaw, who has starred in 45 Nollywood films including When the Sun Sets and Stronger than Pain. AMAA winner Henshaw is also a judge on Nigeria’s Got Talent.

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GOtv offers low-cost DTT package

Nigerian pay TV platform GOtv has launched GOtv Lite, a low-cost subscription package within its digital terrestrial TV (DTT) service, reports Gabriella Opara.

Understanding that subscribers’ needs are not all the same and their economy differs, GOtv parent company MultiChoice Africa is hoping to ensure that the DTT service is accessible to all families.

GOtv Lite achieves this by offering a pared-down version of the GOtv package. Offering 23 channels at affordable rates – N400 monthly, N1,050 quarterly and N3,100 annually – GOtv subscribers can now enjoy more for less, said the company.

Included in the GOtv Lite package are TVC Entertainment, SuperSport Blitz, Galaxy TV, JimJam and eTV Africa, as well as local stations.

The pay TV platform is also running a new package known as GOtv Max for N3,800 per month. This currently offers 60 channels, including Sony Max, Fox, CBS and SuperSport Select 4. Catering to its football-loving viewers, GOtv Max offers access to all live La Liga matches.

Furthermore, GOtv Wawu was launched on October 24, giving subscribers customised offerings and complementary access to selected channels as well as rewards points.

The climax of GOtv’s recent marketing moves was on October 26, when it brought the European Premier League trophy to Lagos. On October 29, Nigerians were able to see, touch and take selfies with the trophy, courtesy of GOtv.

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