ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-night
77°
Sct Thunderstorms
H 92° L 76°
  • clear-night
    77°
    Current Conditions
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 92° L 76°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    89°
    Afternoon
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 92° L 76°
  • cloudy-day
    85°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 92° L 76°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Business
CBS, Viacom to reunite as media giants bulk up for streaming
Close

CBS, Viacom to reunite as media giants bulk up for streaming

CBS, Viacom to reunite as media giants bulk up for streaming
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew
The logo for the CBS Corporation appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. CBS and Viacom said Tuesday they will reunite, bringing together their networks and the Paramount movie studio as traditional media giants bulk up to challenge streaming companies like Netflix. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

CBS, Viacom to reunite as media giants bulk up for streaming

The newly combined ViacomCBS will invest in more movies and TV shows and try to sell more advertising as it seeks to become a bigger player in the growing business of streaming video.

Yet the bigger company still might not be big enough to be competitive, as larger rival Disney launches its own service in November and streaming pioneer Netflix spends even more on original shows and movies.

That isn't stopping Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, who will lead the combined company, to declare that ViacomCBS will be "one of only a few companies with the breadth and depth of content and reach to shape the future of our industry."

CBS and Viacom, which separated in 2006, announced their long-anticipated reunion Tuesday.

Viacom owns the Paramount Pictures movie studio and pay TV channels such as Comedy Central, MTV and BET, while CBS has a broadcast network, television stations, Showtime and a stake in The CW over-the-air network.

CBS was one of the first media companies to launch its own streaming service, CBS All Access. The $6-a-month service now has a new "Star Trek" series, a revival of "The Twilight Zone" and archives of old and current broadcast shows.

Now, Disney, Comcast's NBCUniversal and AT&T's WarnerMedia are jumping in with their own services as well to challenge Netflix, Amazon, Google and other tech companies encroaching into entertainment. To expand its library, Disney bought Fox's entertainment businesses for $71 billion in March, while DirecTV owner AT&T bought Time Warner last year for $81 billion.

Acting CBS CEO Joe Ianniello, who will head the CBS business in the combined company, said in a call with analysts that the company might add content from Nickelodeon, BET, MTV and Comedy Central to CBS All Access and Paramount movies to Showtime. CBS' ad-supported CBSSports HQ and ET Live could be added to Pluto TV.

And the company hopes to beef up its international offerings.

"The combined company will have the best of both worlds, premium U.S. programming that seamlessly travels across borders and hundreds of thousands of hours of locally produced international programming, all available with the click of a button," he said.

Once the deal is completed, expected by the end of the year, ViacomCBS will have a combined library with more than 140,000 TV episodes and 3,600 film titles, including franchises such as "Star Trek" and "Mission: Impossible."

The two companies have been major content spenders, having spent more than $13 billion combined in the past year, or close to the estimated $15 billion Netflix is expected to spend on content in 2019. The two companies have more than 750 series currently ordered or in production.

But the combined company will still be small. CBS has a market value of $18 billion and Viacom about $11.7 billion. Disney's is nearly $245 billion and Netflix is at $136 billion.

CBS says All Access and its Showtime streaming services have 8 million subscribers combined. That's far less than the 60 million U.S. subscribers that Netflix has, though it's comparable with the estimated number of subscribers to HBO Now, that network's stand-alone streaming service.

And the Paramount movie studio, despite hits like last year's "A Quiet Place" and the latest "Mission: Impossible" sequel, has just 5% of this year's market share at the box office. It hasn't been in the top five since 2011.

Moody's media analyst Neil Begley said ViacomCBS might have to consider other acquisitions to keep up. However, the number of possible targets is dwindling, he said, with what's left mostly smaller companies such as the Discovery and the AMC television networks and the MGM and Lionsgate movie studios.

He said a big question will be whether the new company will focus on subscription offerings, such as CBS All Access and Showtime, or free, ad-supported ones, like the Viacom-owned Pluto TV. Or it may keep doing both.

"If you're going in both directions, you're hedging your bets, but are you pulling your punches on whatever the best strategy might have been?" Begley said.

The all-stock deal will give CBS shareholders about 61% of the combined company and Viacom shareholders the rest. The companies say the combined company will have $28 billion in revenue. By combining, the companies say they will save $500 million a year.

CBS and Viacom have had an on-again, off-again relationship.

After splitting in 2006, CBS and Viacom both remained controlled by National Amusements. Shari Redstone, daughter of media mogul Sumner Redstone, runs the holding company.

The split was a way to separate Viacom's networks like MTV, Nickelodeon and BET, which were very successful at the time, from the slower growth of the CBS network.

But over time, the two companies' fates were reversed. CBS under longtime chief Les Moonves became more profitable and Viacom struggled, hurt by weakness in its Paramount studio and people dropping cable in favor of streaming.

A recombination makes sense now because media companies are bulking up their content offerings to better compete for ad dollars. But Moonves was against the idea, as CBS was stronger and more profitable than Viacom.

Moonves' ouster last year in the face of multiple sexual misconduct allegations changed the dynamic. Under an agreement, Shari Redstone agreed not to push for a reunion for at least two years, but that left open the possibility of CBS itself pushing for it.

Redstone will be chairwoman of the combined company's board.

"We will establish a world-class, multiplatform media organization that is well-positioned for growth in a rapidly transforming industry," Redstone said.

Viacom's stock rose 2.4% and CBS 1.4% in trading Tuesday, a reflection of Wall Street having anticipated this deal, especially in recent days. Disney's stock was up 1%, while Netflix gained less than 1%.

Read More

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A trio of local lawmakers successfully worked to double the amount of money the City of Orlando will receive in anti-terrorism funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Central Florida Representative Stephanie Murphy, Val Demmings, and Darren Soto secured $3.25 million after they convinced DHS to revise its allocation formula to consider factors like daily visitors, high-profile events and so called ‘soft targets’ like theme parks. “Orlando is one of our nation’s most popular destinations and home to a vibrant community that has endured tragedy and loss. Residents and visitors alike should know the federal government is providing the support needed to protect them from terrorist threats,” Rep. Murphy said in a press release. The money will be allocated by by the Urban Area Work Group, which is headed by Orange County Sheriff's Office. It’s part of $590 million in funding granted to 31 cities across the nation, including Orlando, Tampa and Miami.  The money can be used to purchase homeland security equipment, conduct training exercises, train and pay first responders, and enhance security in order to protect high-profile locations like stadiums, public transit, and theme parks. The city received $1.5 million last year but received zero dollars from fiscal years 2015 through 2017.  “Our ongoing advocacy efforts to increase federal resources have paid off as we continue improving security against terrorism in our Central Florida region,” said Soto. “Orlando metro has faced multiple threats in the past years, adding alarming risks to the safety and well-being of our community. More than 75 million people visited Orlando in 2018 and recently the Orlando International Airport was named the busiest in the state.  The city has also been the target of an attack at the Pulse Nightclub in 2016, where 49 people were killed. “I am grateful that Central Florida is receiving the funding we need to ensure that our communities remain safe places to live, work, worship, and visit,” said Demings. “Security is our top priority, and with these grants, the federal government is doing its part to help ensure we remain ahead of those seeking to do harm.”In addition, because Orlando is receiving  Urban Area Security Initiative funding, non-profit organizations in the city are eligible for Nonprofit Security Grants from DHS. Three non-profit organizations that predominantly serve the Jewish community in Orlando applied for, and received, a total of $270,000.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking for your help as they face an unknown condition threatening our big cats. The disorder has, so far, seemed to affect Florida panthers and bobcats. The abnormality causes the cats to stumble, seemingly unable to coordinate their back legs. The FWC writes: As of August 2019, the FWC has confirmed neurological damage in one panther and one bobcat. Additionally, trail camera footage has captured eight panthers (mostly kittens) and one adult bobcat displaying varying degrees of this condition. Videos of affected cats were collected from multiple locations in Collier, Lee and Sarasota counties, and at least one panther photographed in Charlotte County could also have been affected.” They are testing for toxins, including rat pesticide, as well as infectious diseases and nutritional deficiencies. The organization is also asking the public for video, if they have it, of stumbling big cats and to submit those videos to the FWC. Mobile users see video here. The more footage they have, the better their investigation, which quickly needs solved. Florida panthers are an endangered species in the state. Biologists estimate there are about 200 left in the wild. Mobile users see Instagram post here.
  • Mark your calendars and grab your sunglasses, the Florida Strawberry Festival has announced its new theme for the 85th annual event in 2020 — 'Our Perfect Vision! A new theme is created for the festival each year, and this year the marketing geniuses played up the year 2020 and the Festivals “Perfect Vision” for fun. Mr. Berry is sporting a FSF fedora and sunglasses with 2020 on the lenses. The iconic mascot is also carrying a plate of strawberry shortcake. Each year, more than 500,000 people enjoy the 11-day community event which celebrates the strawberry harvest of Eastern Hillsborough County. The festival features headline entertainment, youth livestock shows, exhibits of commerce and, of course, its strawberry shortcake. The 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival is set for February 27 - March 8 in Plant City. For more information, visit www.flstrawberryfestival.com. 
  • The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office shared what they call a “sensitive” arrest on their Facebook page writing, “You could even say it’s kinda nuts.” Deputies responded to a 911 hang-up call at a Sebring home Sunday, to discover Gary Van Ryswyk had just performed a castration on another man he met on the dark web at a sight for people with a castration fetish. Deputies found the victim on the bed with a towel over his groin, which was bleeding heavily. Nearby, there was a pink container which held two body parts that deputies say,  “had recently been much closer to the victim.” The Sheriff said in the Facebook post that “Van Ryswyk had dropped the ball on this one.” The victim was taken to the hospital and was later flown to a regional medical center where  he is listed in stable condition. Van Ryswyk admitted to investigators that he told the victim he had experience performing the procedure on animals and had even removed one of his own testicles in 2012. Deputies say Van Ryswyk had planned to operate on the victim a week earlier, but had to delay it after trying to sanitize the area. He also said he had done a similar procedure on a man in a local motel a few years ago, which also did not turn out well. Van Ryswky could not remember the name of that victim, who he said also went to the hospital, but law enforcement was not notified. The 74-year-old was arrested Monday and charged with practicing medicine without a license resulting in bodily injury, a second-degree felony. His bond was set at $250,000. Anyone who has information about Van Ryswyk is asked to call Det. Roger St. Laurent at 863-402-7250 or email detectives@highlandssheriff.com. Tips can also be left anonymously on the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office app or through Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS or www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com.
  • When Stephanie Oyen donned a blue blazer and glasses, she knew she looked like Massachusetts senator and 2020 Democrat Elizabeth Warren. She hoped to draw a few smiles with the outfit but never expected the attention that would end up drowning her. “I thought it would get some giggles,” Oyen told the Star Tribune. “Then people started yelling, ‘Senator Warren!’ People were clapping and running up to me to take photos. I kept saying ‘I’m not her!’ but I looked up and hundreds of people were staring at me.” The attention got to be so much, she ended up taking off the spectacles and sweater, just so she could have a break. “It got weird very fast,' she explained. 'I talk with my hands and shake my head, which only made me look more like Elizabeth Warren. I was saying ‘I’m not her!’ but I could have been saying ‘Medicare for all!’ ” “I’m not a prankster,” she continued, “I really thought people would know, but then they started running up and saying ‘You’re my hero!’ and taking photos. I felt so bad.” But it all peaked when Oyen came face to face with Senator Warren. Warren reportedly told her “We need to talk!” as she pointed to Oyen's outfit. Mobile users see tweet here. “I couldn’t tell if she recognized I was dressed like her or if she thought, ‘Here’s a weird lady dressed like a stereotypical politician,’ ” Oyen laughed. The Massachusetss candidate later tweeted a photo of the two together, writing, it 'would've been even better if she'd brought her own Bailey,' aka Warren's golden retriever and campaign companion.

Washington Insider

  • With the Prime Minister of Denmark making it clear that she was not interested in selling Greenland to the United States, labeling the idea 'absurd,' President Donald Trump said Tuesday night that he would cancel his scheduled visit to the NATO ally in early September. 'Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting,' the President tweeted on Tuesday evening. In interviews this week, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen had made clear that Greenland was not for sale, even as she welcomed the idea of closer relations between Denmark and the United States. But that wasn't enough for President Trump. On Sunday, President Trump had downplayed the issue as he returned to the White House. 'It’s not number one on the burner, I can tell you that,' the President told reporters when asked about the idea of buying Greenland. The decision obviously came as a surprise to U.S. diplomats in Denmark, as the U.S. Ambassador had put out a tweet a few hours earlier about the President's scheduled state visit. The President and First Lady had been invited by the Queen of Denmark earlier this summer for a two day state visit. Democrats mocked the President for canceling his stop in Denmark. “Embarrassing,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA). 'What a shame when Greenland could be covered with sand traps, water holes and lots of beautiful putting greens,' said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), referring to the President's golfing.