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Viacom Talks Web Future, Mentions Yahoo Deal

Viacom CEO Tom Freston took center stage this week at the company's first shareholder meeting since its split from broadcasting unit CBS Corp. Freston said the company's main properties are well-positioned for the media fragmentation occurring in the world today as young people spend more time on social networks and playing video games than they do with print, radio or TV. "We've long been the king of the short attention span," he said, noting that MTV, Comedy Central and others sport "robust Web sites offering video." Hmm. I've been to both the MTV and Comedy Central Web sites and found myself consistently under-whelmed by what's offered--MTV gossip, community stuff, TV schedules, two-minute clips from The Daily Show or South Park and other standard fare. Comedy Central also creates original content on a new Web network called Motherload, but aside from the formal announcement of its unveiling several months ago, I haven't heard anything since. I'd love to see some usage statistics for these properties; to be sure, Viacom has absolutely nothing on News Corp. and MySpace. During his speech, Freston said Viacom is talking with Yahoo about possibly distributing some of Viacom's online video content. It would be a smart match, since Viacom could use traffic and visibility and Yahoo is always looking for new content.



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