Viacom And Cisco Partner To Optimize Video Distribution Network

Cisco and Viacom have inked a deal which will see them collaborate in building a video network foundation which will be used in enhancing Viacom’s premier branded content on multiple platforms in the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada and the United States. In order to achieve greater efficiencies with regards to the reception and distribution of content, the D9800 Network Transport Receiver of Cisco will be used.

“Viacom continues to invest in the right technology to bring compelling programming to its affiliates and world-class entertainment experiences to its fans. Aligning with Cisco accelerates the company’s migration to a next gen video distribution network,” said Viacom’s chief technology officer, David Kline.

Skinny bundle

The collaboration between the two firms coincides with an announcement by the chief executive officer of Viacom, Bob Bakish, that the media company would be launching a low-priced skinny bundle which will consist of entertainment channels before the year ends. The skinny bundle will, however, not have sports outlets or broadcast networks. Bakish was speaking in New York during the Communacopia Conference hosted by Goldman Sachs. Viacom’s CEO said the skinny bundle would be offered at a cost of approximately $20 per month.

Earlier newspaper reports had indicated that Viacom was engaged in discussions with partners such as A+E Networks, AMC Networks and Discovery with a view to assembling the proposed bundle. According to Bakish it was important to come up with such an affordable product that lack pricey sports channels as it would assist in keeping more audiences in the pay television eco-system but who would otherwise opt out. Additionally, the skinny bundles would provide opportunities for upselling in the future. They would also act as a hedge in the event of losses.

Italian expansion

At the same time Viacom has been expanding in Italy after it announced that it would be doubling its FTA offerings in the country. Viacom also acquired channel LCN 49 with a view to launching a local Spike TV version. LCN 49 was originally owned by Scripps Network. The new channel Viacom is working on is expected to be launched before the end of next month. Besides local productions the channel will have some international acquisitions and will be targeting primarily adult males.

Viacom’s Italian expansion moves have also seen the media company form a joint venture with De Agostini Editore. This will see the two firms unveil Super!, a television channel for kids. In the joint venture Viacom will have a 50% interest.

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