Viacom CEO touts advertising outlook

Dauman: Apple TV show rental pricing 'doesn't work for us'

NEW YORK -- Viacom Inc. president and CEO Philippe Dauman signaled Thursday that Apple's 99 cents TV show rental service undervalues his company's content and highlighted that the advertising market remains in "good positive growth mode."

Domestic advertising growth is likely to show further sequential improvement in the current third quarter after a 4% gain in the second quarter. And in an unusual look further ahead, he said Viacom will also likely further accelerate domestic ad growth in the following quarter.

Appearing at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference for media and entertainment investors, Dauman also said that the new Apple TV rental service "doesn't work for us" at the current price point. "We value our content a lot," he told the Wall Street crowd. "We spend a lot of money producing content ... We don't think Apple has it quite right yet."

Dauman's appearance touched on other current technology debates. For example, he said that there is not much evidence of consumers cutting their cable subscriptions amid the availability of more content online.

On the topic of Redbox, he said "we are making more money" from Paramount's arrangement to make DVDs available to the DVD rental kiosk firm day-and-date rather than after a 28 days waiting period that some other studios have instituted.

Asked about the home entertainment market, Dauman echoed other sector top executives in saying that it has stabilized.
Discussing the recent Netflix online streaming rights deal with Epix, in which Viacom is a partner, Dauman said the amount paid by Netflix -- about $1 billion over five years -- was "astounding" and could mark an inflection point for the industry as newer players seem willing to pay top dollars traditionally reserved for cable and satellite TV operators. The deal is a sign of the "incremental revenue opportunities available now" to companies with strong content in the digital age, the Viacom CEO said.

Dauman also quipped that Walt Disney is copying Viacom's Nickelodeon by renaming its SoapNet channel Disney Jr. down the line, which he said is mindful of Nick Jr., the former Noggin. He made the comment while touting the continued strength of Nickelodeon.

Plus, Dauman touted what he said is an emerging realization on Wall Street that MTV and Viacom's other cable networks are showing strong ratings momentum. MTV ratings are up 28% for the current quarter, which is "extraordinary," he said, mentioning "Jersey Shore" and "Teen Mom," among others.
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