Viacom Looks To New Web Sites For Revenue Growth

On the heels of MTV Networks' announcement that it has some two dozen new Web sites in development, the CEO of parent Viacom, Philippe Dauman, reaffirmed his pledge Tuesday that the company will bring in more than $500 million in ad revenues from digital offerings this year.

Helping propel sales, Dauman said, is Viacom's top-25 advertisers all buying space both on-air and online. However, Viacom does not break out digital revenues--so the $500 million figure will be difficult to verify, and could be partly derived from creative accounting via package deals.

Dauman told a group of investors that the company is prepped for "future growth" via the new MTVN targeted Web sites such as and a re-launched, plus others linked to TV franchises.

Overall, MTVN promises 300 sites by Jan. 1.

Dauman said MTVN is "looking to create these special-interest sites--that's where we think the online world is going."

Investors have questioned whether Viacom can keep pace with the changing digital landscape affecting the younger audiences it targets.



Separately, Dauman said he's made an effort in his first year on the job to cut costs to allow further investment in original programming (for the ratings-challenged MTV and other networks), and "that's starting to pay off."

An example he cited was an increased focus at MTV on launching shows that are attractive to young males. The network has offered a range of reality series with female appeal, but Dauman said he cautioned his team to "not to get addicted to that."

He also said MTVN is moving away from licensed programming and placing an increased focus on owning its offerings, so it can then exploit them on multiple platforms. "If we own the programming we can monetize it online, monetize it on mobile," he said.

Earlier, he said that under previous CEO Tom Freston the company took too much of a short-term, quarter-to-quarter approach to ensure it had a good story to tell Wall Street every three months, but he's advocating "thinking long-term about brands (and) making investments for the future."

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