May 18, 2009

So, Was The Dimerger Worth It?

In case you haven't heard, CBS Corporation is not only dropping the Paramount name from their television division name (now they're CBS Television Studios), but they're also launching a new film studio, CBS Films. This isn't CBS's first foray into original film production (they were one of the "stars" in Tri-Star Pictures, with Columbia Pictures and HBO being the other two). The whole purging of the Paramount culture at CBS shouldn't be so surprising, especially since folks at Paramount Pictures' parent company are doing likewise with the CBS culture after announcing plans to launch a premium cable network called Epix that's basically housing Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM films. Of course Showtime, the CBS-owned premium network that had exclusive access to those films, weren't thrilled, and its future could be in doubt.

But here's the thing.

Viacom and CBS Corporation are separate corporations, and yet, they're still owned by Sumner Redstone's National Amusements and are treated like two spoiled children with their own toys not willing to share them and doted on by their parents. Viacom and CBS both believe that "Dad" likes the other one better than them. The whole reason why Viacom and CBS were divided in the first place was because one unit was supposed to be a broadcast production/premium cable unit and the other theatrical production/basic cable unit. Of course, that fact that CBS is making theatrical productions and Viacom is making a premium cable channel kind of invalidates the whole reason for the dimerger. In the end, was splitting up Viacom 1.0 worth it?

No, it was moronic at best, foolish at worst and only created to make people think they were two different companies. They are, of course, two grown children doing their own thing yet living in homes owned by their parents, who collects rents and other monies they make in life. The reason why CBS and Viacom 2.0 are seen as rivals is because their parent company is making them act like rivals, even though they don't need to. Viacom wouldn't need to create a premium network if Showtime's parent CBS were still in the family. CBS would need to create a movie studio if Paramount's parent Viacom were still in the family. Who's stopping CBS from creating a cable music channel that, I don't know, actually shows music or even launching a KEWL-themed children's entertainment cable network with a company like Cookie Jar? Who's stopping Viacom from buying 49% of Sirius XM Radio?

At this rate, I could actually see those happening. Of course, National Amusements will own both of whatever they create anyway, so it really doesn't matter. It's one large company acting like they're two, and the public has completely bought it.

1 comment:

E.A. said...

Again, Jeff, sounds like you're spot on with the "two grown children in their parents home metaphor".

Kind of like "Step-Brothers", eh?