Inside CBS and Viacom, there are various execs who imagine the businesses shouldn’t have break up in 2005. However after 15 years of working unbiased of one another, a few of those self same execs weren’t so certain the 2 sides ought to get again collectively.
However the media panorama has dramatically modified within the years since Sumner Redstone pulled his two firms aside, and inside each CBS and Viacom, there was a way for a while that the reunion was inevitable — and this time, may be extra useful.
Mentioned one insider: “There’s a way of reduction, as this has been within the works for a very long time… pleasure, with some nervousness.”
Loads of questions stay, together with the same old uncertainty of what sort of job loss may include consolidation. Staffers need to know what all of it means — and there are not any fast solutions. Viacom and CBS already function lean programming groups, however there’ll seemingly be some trims in again workplaces equivalent to human assets and IT. Nonetheless, in contrast to the latest Disney/Fox merger (the place loads of divisions overlapped), Viacom and CBS largely function distinctive companies — retaining considerations about huge trims, at the least at this second, to a minimal.
“These had been public executions,” one supply mentioned of the Disney/Fox realignment. “There can be some redundancies right here, however there’s not the identical substantial overlap.”
Past the same old apprehensions about whether or not additional adjustments are coming, in the mean time, the large query internally is how a lot synergy can be inspired and anticipated between the 2 organizations, and the way quickly. For execs who had been round throughout the earlier merger, they bear in mind the mandate was a bit tepid: Cooperate, however don’t expend any critical assets to take action. “There was no reward for being an excellent man,” one exec mentioned.
Which may be completely different this time round, and insiders are significantly to see what this implies on the digital facet. The thought of increase CBS All Entry with content material from Viacom networks equivalent to Nickelodeon and MTV, and incorporating CBS shops into Pluto TV, seem to be logical concepts on paper — how seemingly will that truly be?
As many inside CBS/Viacom sources identified to Selection, it’s solely been a day because the merger grew to become official and so they might lastly talk about Hollywood’s worst-kept secret. However that doesn’t imply the solutions are free flowing simply but.
For now, there’s a sense of a little bit of established order, significantly given the truth that the businesses’ key leaders are nonetheless in place. At CBS, Joe Ianniello has been lauded for calmly steering the ship and providing a gradual hand after the tumultuous exit of former CEO Leslie Moonves. And underneath him, David Nevins continues because the inventive chief for CBS, Showtime and Pop at the same time as Showtime and Pop transfer to the Viacom facet.
“It’s good to see the management of the corporate has stayed intact,” one CBS supply mentioned. “They didn’t blow up the corporate.”
With Ianniello shedding oversight of Showtime, nevertheless, there may be some query of how lengthy this construction may final, or if his position as chairman-CEO of CBS underneath Bakish is a transitional place. Showtime represented a bit of income in Ianniello’s portfolio that he’s now not accountable for. Making him the COO and No. 2 of the entire firm, underneath CEO Bob Bakish, might need made for a cleaner arrange, however it’s believed Ianniello craved a point of autonomy.
Over at Viacom, there’s additionally reduction that Bakish, broadly lauded for serving to course right an organization that had been floating astray, stays in cost. “The Bob of all of it is so nice,” mentioned one exec there, who additionally lauded Christa D’Alimonte, named govt vp, basic counsel and secretary of the merged entity. “Christa can also be a celebrity. With Bob operating it and Christa as basic counsel of the mixed firm, it may well’t get any higher than that.”
On the Paramount Photos lot in Hollywood, staffers are feeling invigorated by the information, a number of folks acquainted with the operation mentioned. Executives in inventive and enterprise affairs really feel the OTT platform CBS All Entry has, in a single day, put Paramount within the streaming recreation. Whereas some are inquisitive about what overlap CBS will current within the coming days, the studio has full confidence within the management of TV chief Nicole Clemens, who has ramped up the manufacturing slate and has confirmed to be efficient in lower than a yr on the job.
The movie group was relieved to see studio chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos signal a brand new, multi-year deal to proceed his turnaround efforts, introduced simply earlier than the merger bid got here by. Elizabeth Raposo, head of manufacturing and identified internally as a shepherd of huge movie franchises like “Mission: Inconceivable” and “Transformers,” was additionally prolonged.
Ianniello’s and Bakish’s Tuesday emails to staffers had been well-received, and Bakish additionally addressed all of Viacom on Wednesday in a world city corridor, streamed from New York headquarters to locations just like the Paramount Theater on the studio’s Hollywood lot. He spoke for about thirty minutes, and took questions for one more thirty.
“As first impressions go, this went nicely,” an insider mentioned of the outreach inside each side of the corporate.
Now, with regulatory approval just about a foregone conclusion, the general temper is just about, “what’s subsequent” and and anxiousness to play catchup to the remainder of the business. “I feel there’s some pleasure on the prospects we are able to do as a mixed firm,” mentioned one exec. “It’s go time.”
[Matt Donnelly contributed to this report.]