Viacom CEO Touts Paramount's "Incredible Value" of Pay Window Rights

ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish
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ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish

The studio, which currently has a multiyear licensing deal with Epix, has moved from beyond its turnaround phase, Bob Bakish says.

When Viacom's Paramount Pictures sees its pay TV window licensing deal with premium TV provider Epix expire in a few years, the company expects to capture financial upside.

Asked on Thursday's quarterly earnings conference call how he was thinking about that so-called pay 1 window opportunity for Paramount, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said: "That’s still a little ways off. But that’s a place where time is our friend. The value of that window, that product probably increases every day. We regularly get inbound interest in that product from a range of players across platforms. We are not doing anything in the near future, because, again, we think time is our friend. And as time plays out, we will determine the highest and best use of it."
With Paramount on track to report its first full fiscal year profit since 2015 later this year, Bakish said that also positions the studio well for the first-run pay window decision. "As time plays out, you will see what a powerhouse Paramount will become on a slate basis," he said. "The pipeline looks phenomenal, these guys really know what they are doing. So, that window will have incredible value to us once we make a decision on what we do."

Asked about Paramount, on Thursday he also called it an important creative hub and a "material asset" for Viacom, vowing: "We are entering into a new phase of growth and vitality." 

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 2017 acquired Epix from co-venture partners Viacom and Lionsgate for $1.031 billion. The deal included multiyear agreements with Paramount and Lionsgate for first-run movie rights.

CBS Corp., which has been in talks with Viacom about a potential recombination, owns premium TV powerhouse Showtime.