As it works on a turnaround strategy, Viacom ( VIA ) is actively working on rebranding Spike TV into the Paramount Network. The company recently unveiled the first look of the new network, and is likely to sell advertising inventory for it staring this month. Paramount Network, which plans to boast shows of the "caliber of HBO," is likely to be launched in 2018. Spike TV was Viacom's network aimed at men, but it did not see great success. The company is now looking to transform it into a broader cable network along the lines of USA or FX. While Viacom has several specialized networks such as Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central, it does lack a more generalized entertainment network, a gap it plans to fill with Paramount Network.
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Moving Away From The Niche Focus
Viacom's networks have generally always focused on a niche segment, so the company could benefit from a broad entertainment network. Paramount Network plans to launch six new series next year, and the company has already announced three of those. These drama shows are likely to attract advertisers who are looking for networks with a strategy to capture a larger target audience. While advertising dollars are shifting away from TV towards digital media, a broad-based network will still likely help Viacom, as opposed to its previous strategy of having niche networks which would only attract advertisers looking for a specific demographic. With a more general entertainment network, Viacom can potentially boost its advertising revenues.
Viacom's strategy to move away from niche networks to a broader channel is a step in the right direction. However, whether the company's shows will be able to compete with established players in this segment - and thereby attract advertising revenues - remains to be seen.
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