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Viacom Digital Studios Makes Big Streaming Push to Woo Next-Gen Audiences

March 27, 2019 / TODD SPANGLER

After years of mostly sitting on the sidelines of the digital land grab, Viacom has gotten serious about investing in an online future for its stable of youth-skewing TV properties like MTV, Nickelodeon, BET and Comedy Central.A cornerstone of CEO Bob Bakish’s digital road map is Viacom Digital Studios, led by president Kelly Day, a longtime digital-media exec whom Bakish hired in the fall of 2017. “A lot of people at the time were like, ‘Is Viacom really serious about this digital thing?’” says Day.There was plenty of reason for skepticism: Even Day acknowledges that Viacom had underinvested in digital. “Their strategy was to just harvest the linear-TV business,” says Brian Wieser, global president of business intelligence for GroupM, WPP’s media investment group. The new digital push became inevitable as TV audiences continued to shrink, Wieser notes. It’s not getting better: Viacom Media Networks ad sales fell 6% in the fourth qu...