Viacom Upping Content Game

While Viacom remains ensnarled in the crosshairs of a power play between corporate parent National Amusements and CBS, the media giant has quietly ramped up original content creation and licensing.

Last month, the corporate shell to Paramount Pictures, MTV, Comedy Central, BET and Nickelodeon, among others, inked license agreements with Hulu, while reportedly signing up to create programming for Netflix.

Much of the latter through the recent launch of MTV Studios, which pledges to develop and produce a full slate of original programming with a focus on series, franchises and spin-offs that span MTV’s 35-year history.

With over 200 titles, MTV Studios has one of the largest libraries of young adult series and franchises. The initial production slate includes rebooted editions of animated series “Daria,” with writer Grace Edwards from “Inside Amy Schumer”; sci-fi series, “Aeon Flux” from “Teen Wolf” creator Jeff Davis; reality series, “The Real World”; and an update of the Emmy Award-winning coming of age unscripted series, “Made.”

The slate will include two new titles: “The Valley” (working title), a coming of age docuseries that follows a group of young friends growing up in the town of Nogales, Arizona, a city split in half, with one side in the United States and the other in Mexico.

Also included is “MTV’s Straight Up Ghosted,” which follows young people trying to reconnect with lost friends, lovers and family members and confront them about why they have been ghosted.

“With MTV Studios, we are for the first time ever opening up this vault beyond our own platforms to reimagine the franchises with new partners,” Chris McCarthy, president of MTV, said in a statement.

MTV claims to be the fastest growing network on TV, with viewership in prime time up 21% year-over-year. It generated 2.9 billion streams in 2018 and has amassed more than 350 million social followers globally.

 

 

Hulu Inks Library Deal With Viacom

In a new library agreement with Viacom, Hulu is now the exclusive streaming home to full libraries of series, including “Daria,” “Nathan for You,” “My Super Sweet 16” and “New Edition Story,” according to an announcement from the streaming service.

The deal also brings to Hulu 11 series from Nickelodeon and more than 20 films, including “Big Time Rush,” School of Rock, “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn,” “Hunter Street,” “Make It Pop,” “Every Witch Way” and “WITS Academy.”

Also returning to Hulu will be series “Alvinnnn!!! and the Chipmunks,” ‘Kung Fu Panda” and “Penguins of Madagascar.”

“The new deal is part of Hulu’s commitment to expanding its library with programming for the whole family,” according to the announcement. “More series and films from Nickelodeon will continue to rollout throughout the year.”

Nickelodeon President Cyma Zarghami Departs

Nickelodeon June 4 announced that longtime president Cyma Zarghami is stepping down after more than 30 years with the network. As Zarghami exits, Nickelodeon claims to have the highest share of total viewing in kids’ television.

While Viacom conducts a search for a successor, Sarah Levy, COO of Viacom Media Networks, will lead the brand on an interim basis.

Levy will work with Nickelodeon’s management team to launch a pipeline of more than 800 new episodes and accelerate the brand’s push into new and next-generation streaming platforms, film, live experiences and consumer products.

Zarghami joined Nickelodeon in 1985 and was named president in 2006. Under her leadership, Nickelodeon became a global brand for kids, spanning linear and multiplatform programming, film, live experiences and consumer products.

“Over the course of her career, Cyma has played an integral role in growing Nickelodeon into the dominant force in kids’ entertainment,” Bob Bakish, CEO of Viacom, said in a statement. “Her instincts for creating content and experiences that kids love have been vital to the brand’s success around the world.”

Upon assuming control of Viacom, Bakish said the media company would focus ongoing efforts on select brands, that include Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., among others.

“We continue to evolve the business and connect with young audiences in new and innovative ways,” Bakish said. “I want to extend my deepest gratitude to Cyma for her leadership and wish her every success.”