Bob Bakish Gives First Hints of How Viacom and CBS Will Work Together

CBS’ longtime Black Rock headquarters to be sold

Newly-minted ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish spent much of his time Monday during the UBS Global TMT Summit in New York discussing how the two formerly-separate companies will work together.

For starters, James Corden’s “Late Late Show” on CBS will get next-day replays on Comedy Central and Viacom networks like MTV will air ancillary programming during the Grammys, which annually air on CBS.

CBS All Access is getting an infusion of programming from Viacom networks, with Bakish specifically citing Nickelodeon, while Paramount films will air on Showtime. CBS also launched three new branded channels on Pluto TV, the free, ad-supporting streaming service Viacom acquired earlier this year.

First announced in August, the merger between Viacom and CBS took effect after the closing bell on Dec. 4, with ViacomCBS Inc. will beginning trading on the Nasdaq the next morning under ticker symbols VIACA and VIAC. The move puts the CBS broadcast network, Viacom’s stable of cable channels like MTV and Nickelodeon, and the Paramount film and TV studio all under one roof.

But with ViacomCBS far smaller than its bulked-up competitors like WarnerMedia and Disney, many industry analysts have wondered whether or not ViacomCBS is in the process of acquiring assets. “We don’t see any asset on the market or coming to the market in the near term that we have to own,” Bakish said, before hedging a bit: “That being said, will we look? Of course, we will look.”

In the near term, ViacomCBS will look to unload some of its more ancillary assets, namely CBS Corp.’s longtime New York City headquarters, known as “Black Rock.”

On the advertising side, CBS announced Monday morning it has joined OpenAP, an advanced advertising coalition that aims to sell ads using non-Nielsen metrics. It was founded in 2017, with Viacom as a founding member. When it comes to next spring’s upfront marketplace, Bakish said a combined ViacomCBS will go to the upfronts combining linear reach with its advance marketing solutions and will announce special advertising packages soon.