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Viacom CEO Says He’ll Unveil New “Unified” Company Strategies This Week

Deadline logo Deadline 2/6/2017 David Lieberman
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Viacom CEO Bob Bakish told shareholders at their annual meeting today that he will outline a new strategy for the media giant this Thursday when the company discloses its financial results for the last three months of 2016.

It will include “a new strategic vision and framework” for the company.

He’s “determined to improve the performance of MTV and Paramount” following a year that included “plenty of reminders that the company needs to do better.”

He vowed to take “a holistic approach to Viacom’s cable networks to improve them noting that “some of our networks need better ratings, and we will get them.”

He adds that “there’s so much more we can do” with Viacom’s networks to reach its domestic and overseas audiences.

“Other companies would kill for our brands,” he noted saying that this year people will watch 100 billion  hours of Viacom content across multiple platforms.

As for Paramount,  Bakish says that “we’ve already had some significant successes” including deals such as the co-financing one with Shanghai Film Group Corp and Beijing-based Huahua Media  that “de-risk” the studio.

“We’re very focused on improving Paramount,” Bakish said — adding that he’ll have more to say about that on Thursday.

Asked by a shareholder about Viacom’s plans to deal with “groups under attack” by Trump administration policies, Bakish says that “it’s very early days” and “nobody has a clear picture” of what will happen.

“There’s potential for an improved business climate,” he says. But “as we learn more about the new administration we’ll find ways to work in that environment” while maintaining “the core values we believe in.”

Chairman Tom May opened the meeting saying that the company became “more agile” following “a year of transition in a challenging environment.”

“We’re all confident that Viacom’s brightest days are still ahead,” he said.

Holders of the commonly traded Class B shares were not entitled to vote at the meeting. That right was reserved for holders of the Class A shares. National Amusements, controlled by Sumner and Shari Redstone, control 80% of those votes.

As a result, the business part of the meeting lasted about 10 minutes, All of the nominated directors were elected with at least 97% of the votes.

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