The M&E business could be set for more consolidation with reports of a plan to recombine CBS and Viacom.
According to The Wall Street Journal, CBS and Viacom vice chair Shari Redstone has reached out to CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves about the two companies merging.
Viacom and CBS split in 2006 in an effort to unlock value at both companies. But since then, CBS has become the top rated broadcaster in the US with a strong OTT service (CBS All Access) and a premium channel in Showtime. Viacom has struggled to get back on track as its networks have slipped in the ratings and the advertising market has dwindled.
The Journal says Redstone is attempting to add new directors to the CBS board as she continues to try to push a deal through.
Viacom’s European operations include MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Spike and the UK’s Channel 5.
Meanwhile, a combined CBS-Viacom is rumoured to be among possible suitors for Lionsgate which is deemed to be “ripe for takeover”.
According to Deadline, Amazon and Verizon are also said to be interested in acquiring the studio. Any deal would enable Lionsgate to become part of a bigger broadcast infrastructure allowing it to directly reach consumers, as well as providing it with the resources within the current media environment.
Deadline suggests CBS, Viacom and Lionsgate could look to combine all three companies, giving the new business a major broadcast network, a library of blockbuster film titles as well as small screen content.