Viacom CEO Bob Bakish spoke of the initiative Monday during his keynote breakfast at the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom conference in Boston. Bakish referenced the slew of OTT skinny bundle offerings that are hitting the market at around $40. He told J.P. Morgan media analyst Alexia Quadrani that what he called the “entertainment pack” option would probably be priced around $10-$20.
The new breed of digital MVPDs are still not “transformational” opportunities for pay TV because they remain dominated by broadcast signals and sports. He doubted whether new offerings from YouTube, DirecTV Now and Hulu would have much appeal to what he called “cord-never millennials.”
After hitting a slump a few years ago, Nickelodeon chief Cyma Zarghami went on a mission to expand its programming development pipeline, which is now bearing fruit. “We’re not the ‘SpongeBob’ network anymore,” he said, noting that it’s top four shows in live-action and animation are newer properties.
At MTV, the shift in focus to lighter unscripted programming began rolling out in March under the direction of Chris McCarthy, who took on MTV in addition to VH1 and Logo in November. Bakish expects the next two months to be crucial with new series rollouts.
The goal is to boost numbers with teenagers and young women. MTV saw its ratings in those demos decline about 10% a year for the past five years after it embarked on an ambitious scripted programming push even though “there was no research that anyone was looking for scripted at MTV.”