Viacom to feed rather than fight SVoD services

Rather than starving SVoD services of content, US media conglomerate Viacom is to develop new TV and movie content specifically for these platforms, CEO Bob Bakish has said. Viacom’s strategy differs from that of other media companies, such as Disney and Warner, who have sought to reduce SVoD services’ access to their new release and library titles to support their own SVoD offerings. Having already developed hit shows for Netflix and Amazon (13 Reasons Why for Netflix and Jack Ryan for Amazon), Viacom has announced further plans for SVoD specific content which includes the creation of reality content for Facebook Watch. This strategy reportedly stems from Viacom’s traditionally young audience swapping Viacom owned cable networks, like MTV and Comedy Central, for streaming services. Viacom has not ruled out creating its own OTT service, although CEO Bob Bakish stated in recent interviews that the streaming space is too saturated and 'capital-intensive'. The company would instead look to create ad-supported niche products focusing on different demographics.

Among the US SVoD services Amazon Prime currently hosts the greatest number of hours of content produced by Viacom, followed by Hulu and then Netflix. Hulu has the most hours of TV content produced by Viacom. This is due to an agreement made earlier in 2018, between the two companies which saw several Viacom owned series available on the streaming service. Sci-fi & fantasy content accounts for most of the Viacom content on all three services with a quarter of total hours of content made up of this genre for Amazon Prime; around a third for Hulu; and nearly 40% for Netflix. Viacom content on Hulu is more diverse than that on Amazon Prime and Netflix; 7% of total hours of Viacom content on Hulu consists of reality content. Viacom has several deals in place with companies like Netflix and Hulu to produce Nickelodeon-branded shows for these streaming services. Consequently, children & family content makes up for roughly the same proportion (around 20%) of total hours of content on all three services.