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Viacom CEO: TV Bundles Aren’t Going Anywhere

29 May, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

Arizona Sen. John McCain recently introduced the Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013, which would allow pay-TV providers an opportunity to offer a la carte programming and pay-per-channel packages.

Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman scoffed at that idea May 29.

“I know McCain got a lot of publicity for his solo-sponsored bill, which he’s been calling for, I don’t know, 15 years now,” Dauman said, speaking at the Nomura Global Media & Telecom Summit. “[It’s] going nowhere. There’s nothing new there.”

Dauman said the numerous channel choices allow for consumers to discover new content, and overall results in better programming.

“AMC came from nothing because it was able to invest in programming,” he said. “It’s good value for consumers. The opposite would be true if you went to the model of a la carte. Obviously, you’d have to increase the price dramatically, consumers would get fewer channels, without saving any money.”

He said technology has allowed people to spend more time watching entertainment, and as video distribution on mobile expands, they’ll consume even more.

Dauman addressed the state of home entertainment as well, saying the disc business appears to be stabilizing after years of decline, and the download-to-own business continues to grow.

“That wasn’t counterbalancing enough the decline in the physical disc business,” he said. “… It’s starting to get more meaningful in the home entertainment pie. That creates a little bit more stability and predictability.

Many of the technical issues that impeded the progress of TV Everywhere have been addressed, Dauman said, allowing Viacom to provide linear content to devices in the home, and ad-supported content outside the home.

“[There’s an opportunity] to make TV Everywhere, which has been bandied about and talked about for many years now, a reality,” Dauman said. “That’s good for everybody. It’s good for consumers; it’s good for distributors; it’s good for content owners.

“There’s a real appetite among our viewers to view content that way.”

Dauman highlighted the application for the Nickelodeon channel, which allows Viacom to offer extra content, and he promised an MTV application soon.

“Our other brands will be rolling out more apps,” he said, pointing to several Comedy Central shows. “[The apps] give us a more direct relationship with the consumers.”

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