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Viacom is Continuing to Doom Itself to Irrelevance in The Age of Cord Cutting


Viacom was once a very cord cutting friendly service with deals with Hulu, Sling, DIRECTV NOW, and PlayStation Vue. Now Viacom seems to be running away from cord cutters as quickly as it can.

Viacom pulled its channels from Sony’s PlayStation Vue and shortly after that it pulled its shows from Hulu. Now Viacom has refused to give its shows to new streaming services such as YouTube TV and Hulu.

For now you can still find Viacom channels, such as Comedy Central, Spike, and MTV, on Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW. Likely because of the ability for its parent companies to tie being on its streaming service as a requirement to be on its traditional pay-TV services.

Though it seems as if Viacom is not happy about these deals and just last week made it clear it has no future plans to be a part of cheaper cord cutting services. During the first quarter earnings call for Viacom its CEO Bob Bakish said, “we have to be careful we’re not creating inexpensive opportunities to serve as an alternative.”

Just a few months before that Viacom made it clear it plans to do what it can to promote traditional pay-TV services.

With over 750,000 American households ditching pay TV in just the first quarter of 2017, it seems that Viacom is rushing back on the sinking ship. So desperate is it to hold on to the big payouts of pay TV it is unwilling to try and make something from cord cutters.

Like a long list of companies before it, Viacom is so tied to what it did in the past it is unwilling to change. Much like how Blockbuster was so tied to the easy money of DVD rentals it ignored what was happening until it was too late to make any changes.

Although it’s far too early to say Viacom is the next Blockbuster, it does seem that it is moving in that direction.

So what do you think? Is Viacom the next Blockbuster?

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  • Ben M

    IF Viacom had “must have” channels then they could probably survive….but they don’t. Nothing they offer is worth the price of admission. Also, they are dancing with the devil in this instance. When demand for their channels continues to dwindle (and it will with less exposure) the traditional cable companies will want to pay less for them. My prediction is that Viacom will either be sold to someone like Disney or bankrupt in 2-3 years.

    • AstroMonster

      Or maybe sell it off piece by piece.

      I could see Disney wanting the Nickelodeon rights

      • Ben M

        Your probably right on the piece by piece. Most of what they offer is trash in my opinion but Nickelodeon has value, maybe Comedy Central.

        • JGaLaXY

          the only channel and the only major reason I have directv now is Nick Jr, for people that don’t have kids, Viacom doesn’t offer ANYTHING that’s a MUST-hAVE, these guys are gonna learn today *kevin hart voice*

        • Omen_20

          Would love to see FXX pickup some of the Comedy Central shows.

  • Craig

    After seeing clips from the MTV Movie Awards last night? Viacom is doomed for far many more reasons, than just barely offering its channels to IPTV providers…

  • Joseph ewing

    “…such as Comedy Central, Spike, and MTV”

    Wow, the giants….

    • Ben M

      LOL…yep, Definitely not “must see tv”.

  • AstroMonster

    Nickelodeon is the only channel they have that I care about, although the MTV Classic has been showing 80s videos a lot.. which is really cool.

    It is amazing all the whining and moaning some people did when they left Vue.

    I see one user that posts over and over here, the Vue forums, and other blogs complaining STILL about Vue’s dropping Viacom. You can tell it’s the same person by the way they post and the verbage they use.

    I wonder when people will start to realize that maybe.. just maybe… Vue didn’t think they were going to lose Viacom until the last second and that’s why they didn’t give more of a warning.

    • Ben M

      Could be Viacom wanted too much money and Vue told them to take a hike.

      • AstroMonster

        Since the only OTTs with Viacom are Sling TV (DishNetwork) and DirecTV Now (DirecTV), I would bet that since Vue isn’t affiliated with a traditional service, Viacom felt that they were a threat. May have less to do with money and more to do with Viacom not wanting to help Vue gain viewers.

        • Ben M

          If that is true then Viacom is assuming that their channels are so desired by viewers that they would pay higher cable prices to gain access to them. I don’t see that and it is a dangerous strategy to follow.

          • AstroMonster

            The fact that they also aren’t on Hulu Live or YouTube TV, or Fubo TV, kind of makes you wonder though

          • Omen_20

            Yeah, it’s just making me forget about their shows. No clue what they have put on new since dropping Vue. By this fall the networks will be irrelevant to me. I’ll be watching new shows from FX, AMC, and HBO, and not even wondering what’s on Viacom’s channels.

            I give them 2 years before most 20 somethings have no idea what their new shows are.

            A: “Have you seen Drunk Bar Mades?”
            B: “What is that?”
            A: “It’s a show on Comedy Central”
            B: “Isn’t that on cable? Forgot about it after Jon Stewart left and stopped seeing it on {X service}. Were you staying with your parents for the holiday?”
            A: “No I have cable..”
            B: “Ah. You mind if we use your senior discount at lunch?”

    • Sunny Rain

      People like to blame Vue but the problem is Viacom and overpricing their content which isn’t that valuable.

  • Tom McElvy

    Yes, I do believe it. In fact, I am writing a letter and MAILING it (what a concept) to Viacom about it. We will never watch their shows again until they are available to stream. Perhaps letters to the actual producers of the various shows that Viacom only offers (not owns/produces) would do the trick as well. And don’t forget advertisers – if the demos go down….

  • Sunny Rain

    Nickelodeon, Nick Jr and Comedy Central are the only valuable Viacom channels. If Viacom was smart, they would make those 3 available in all base packages everywhere. Then include the rest of the garbage in the higher tiers.

    I’m surprised Sling has Nicktoons and not Nickelodeon. It seems like a very backward decision. It’s like Disney giving out Disney XD instead of Disney Channel. Makes no sense.

    • AstroMonster

      I always thought that was odd also.

      The Nickelodeon app is pretty bad too, in terms of streaming quality

      • Sunny Rain

        They’ve actually improved the quality. But the design is terrible.

        • AstroMonster

          We were watching Nickelodeon on the Roku app this morning (Spongebob..lol) and the video quality got pretty bad at times..

          LOTS of commercials, now too…more than ANY other VOD I have seen.

          They had 2 mins of commercials before anything played, then played the opening creds, then another 1:50 of ads….

          • Sunny Rain

            If you’re using the Roku app, then it’s expected to be terrible. Most services don’t give much priority to Roku. They only focus on the main platforms: iOS and Android.

            The app is pretty smooth on Apple TV and they don’t have as many ads. The episodes have an ad or two at the beginning then one more ad break in between and that’s all. Some don’t even have an ad break during the episode. But Roku wants to make more money from ads, so the more ads are probably part of the Roku deal.

    • Max Chaos

      Viacom isn’t known for there brains.

  • stumpy579

    Failure to strike a deal with Sony should have been a wake up call to Viacom. Other than Nickelodeon their programming ranges from mediocre to terrible. Unfortunately they refuse accept the truth. First they blamed Hulu and VOD(if our programming is available cheap vod we can’t get our price from Sony) so they pull their shows from Hulu. Then they blame sports(Vue is paying too much for sports so they can’t pay us what we want.) and they propose a no sports option. Then they decide their commercials aren’t interesting enough and do a study to develop commercials so interesting that people will want to watch them. Now they blame skinny bundles and will only do business with the old traditional services. They are like a kid who always got his way and now somebody said no. Maybe instead of doing a study to make commercials interesting they should hire an outside firm to give a true evaluation of their programming. Even then I doubt they would accept the grim results. They should just sell off the few channels that are worth anything and get out. With more choices and skinny bundles the cream of programming will rise to the top and garbage will sink to the bottom. That is what is now happening with Viacom.

  • BigO

    I am curious as to why they think running away from cord-cutting / streaming is the answer while everyone else is going in the opposite direction is the correct move? It is not as though they have what many consider to be “must-have networks”. I guess we shall see if what they are doing will or will not work out for them.

  • Colton

    Everything goes eventually. MTV use to be the thing to watch back decades ago, now it just has shows like “12 and pregnant” or whatever. They are trying to use their bigger channels to pay and keep their failing ones. Viacom, its time to ditch the channels no one watches and make some money on the ones that do.

    • Dean Bodholdt

      I’d say it’s HIGH TIME for Viacom, if they REALLY, TRULY DO value their channels as much as they SAY they do, to take channels like MTV, MTV 2, and VH1, and END THE CRAPPY PROGRAMMING they’re airing on those 3 channels, and BRING THOSE CHANNELS BACK TO BEING MUSIC-VIDEO AND MUSIC-CENTRIC CHANNELS, like they were ORIGINALLY!!! >:-( THEN, MAYBE MTV & VH1 WILL ACTUALY be WORTH something!!!! 🙂

  • filmex

    In other news, Viacom announced investment in a new company planning on resuscitating the Betamax.

    • twop0intfive

      and HD-DVD too, I heard.

      • CommodoreFan64

        I thought it was RCA CED the movie format of the future ?

        • AstroMonster

          I used to sell DAT machines… Digital Audio Tape… another bust

  • Gerry Allen

    I had the experience of working with Viacom executives when we bought some publishing properties from them. They lacked vision and talent (there was one exception; she lasted another month). When challenged, they descended into name-calling and power-tripping. I was glad to return to my company.
    This behavior in cord-cutting just reflects the culture at this outfit. If I were a streaming service, I would stay away from this steaming pile.

  • King_Android

    They’ll come around within a year.

  • Richard smith

    What happened to the $20 service Viacom was working on with AMC and Discovery.

    • Ben M

      It probably died because:
      A) Viacom wanted a bigger piece of the pie
      B) They realized no one in their right mind would pay $20 for that channel lineup
      C) Both

  • Viacom was already dead to me when they killed Tech TV ages ago. Nick/Nick Jr and the 90’s Are All That blocks are the only things we watch now, and even those channels have been going down hill slowly. I remember the good ol’ days when Nick had only one channel.

  • DGB23

    Haven’t missed any of them since they pulled them from VUE.

  • Bruce Wayne

    They have nothing of value to me anyway. I’m glad Vue didn’t bend over just to satiate these greedy losers.