Moonves: Synergy? What synergy?

MoonvesFor those who have followed Viacom for any period of time (and, most recently, the current talk of it splitting itself back up), listening to co-COO Les Moonves talk at this week’s ANA TV Ad Forum was fascinating, if somewhat surreal. It was nothing short of amazing to hear a big-league media executive publicly pooh-pooh the notion of synergy—the "s" word that all the great media conglomerates used to justify for their bulking up over the past decade. For years, the company sold Wall Street and advertisers on its "cradle-to-grave" synergy plan. Networks like Nogg’n and Nickelodeon catered to the 2-to-11 crowd, while CBS programmed to the 60-to-dead set. A dozen other networks catered to everything in between. But after the operating duties were divvied up last spring between Moonves and Tom Freston, the company took another look and found "very little synergy between the two sides," Moonves said last week. So now the company will probably split apart. Can Time Warner be far behind?

—Posted by Steve McClellan

Photo credit: Doug Goodman