Cablefax The Magazine - June 2018 - 12

11. REHAB KING
Bob Bakish
President & CEO
Viacom
Years in Cable: 21
Education: BS, MBA,
Columbia University
As Bakish's " Flagship
Six " networks strategy
continues to set the pace
for decisions at Viacom,
growth opportunities
continue to arise for BET, Comedy Central, MTV,
Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Paramount Network,
and their brethren. He kicked off 2018 with
the rebranding and relaunch of Spike TV as
Paramount Network and a ratings resurgence at
MTV, thanks in part to the return of the " Jersey
Shore " crew. Bakish also has been able to rehab
the troubled Paramount Pictures unit, with the
studio posting its first quarterly profit since 2015
in Q2 2018. What's next for the busy exec? After
living single for 12 years, CBS and Viacom are
once again exploring the potential to come back
together. Expect Bakish to keep the evolving
scenario front and center.
The biggest innovation in media/
broadband over the last year?
There have been tons of new platforms
and interfaces for the delivery
of video. Which is great. But, as a
citizen of the world, I actually think
the coolest thing I saw in the last
year was Google translate. It's not
exactly a media app but it does use
media -- you put your phone over a
sign and it shows up in the language
of choice. That might not be entertaining
but it is very cool.
What does the future look like for skinny
bundles and flexible packaging? 2017 was
a pivotal year for bundling, with the first OTT
entertainment pack, and more choice than ever in
vMVPD packaging. I think you'll see even more
change in 2018, as consumers start to look for
truly differentiated OTT products that may exclude
expensive sports programming, or drill deep on
certain entertainment genres. But the big thing
you are going to see next, probably in 2019, is
the launch of widely penetrated mobile bundles,
probably as part of family plans. These will not be
substitutes for traditional pay TV, but rather widely
distributed compliments, which include made for
mobile programming around brands consumers
know and love - like MTV, BET, Comedy
Central and Nickelodeon. They will be engaging
in their own right, while also providing a natural
upgrade path to fuller OTT based TV experiences.
The growth of the new triple play-which is the
packaging of mobile with broadband and pay
TV-as well as increasing competition and commoditization
of the mobile space, will only serve to
accelerate this development.
What would be the name of the reality show
based on your company? In deference to one of
our all-time greats, the answer to any reality show
question needs to be a " Shore " derivative. This
time it will be Times Square Shore. " No, there is
no shore in Times Square. But just like in Poland,
where we have Warsaw Shore, that really doesn't
matter. The shores, or reality programming in
general, is all about the characters and the drama.
And we have plenty of that in Times Square! And,
oh by the way, we already have a duck phone!
An area where media/ broadband could
use improvement? We've been saying for
years that the TV Everywhere experience needs
to be enhanced and simplified for the end user.
2017 has seen some improvement, but we
know it can still get better. ■
®
CONGRATULATIONS
Cablefax 100/Top Ops
Awards Recipients.
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