ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish has described the merger of Viacom and CBS as “a historic moment” in an email to staff at the new company.
The deal closed on Wednesday, combining Viacom’s Paramount Pictures, Channel 5 and cable channels (MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and BET) with the CBS broadcast network, Showtime, and CBS All Access.
The company has promised to deliver at least $500 million in synergy savings within two years, suggesting layoffs are in the pipeline as overlapping operations are eliminated.
Bakish touted “a tremendous library and ongoing production that we can deliver for our owned platforms and third-party buyers. We are setting up the organisation of the company to enable us to leverage every asset we have.”
He also called the firm “the most important partner in the media ecosystem,” adding: “We’ll deliver the largest share of the US television audience and hold number one positions in every demographic we serve. Our reach will extend across every platform and every price point — including ad-supported and subscription-based streaming services — making us a cornerstone offering for distributors. The combination of our audience reach with our leadership in advanced advertising and marketing solutions will make us the go-to choice for advertisers and agencies.”