Viacom’s Philippe Dauman talks future of social TV, as Comedy Central touts gains

By Alex Weprin 

At the UBS Media Summit today, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman was asked how social TV is affecting his company, which owns Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central, among other networks. Dauman was, not surprisingly, bullish on how his company plans to take advantage of the opportunities social television presents.

“We have observed that our viewers, when they are watching their TV, they are very often looking at second screen, accordingly we have been programming to that second screen,” Daumsn said in a statement. “It opens up new interactions with some of our advertisers, and we are already doing that, and it also opens up new opportunities with creative talent.”

Viacom has been able to succeed organically in social thanks largely to its strong content, which ranges from “Spongebob Squarepants” to “The Daily Show.” As it happens, Comedy Central touted that it has surpassed 101 million cumulative social media fans, led by South Park, which has 42 million fans on Facebook alone.

Daniel Tosh, the host of the viral clip show “Tosh.0,” has doubled his Twitter following to seven million in the last year, and the interaction levels are up 20% from last year.

“We are at the forefront of seeing what is going on,” Dauman said today. “We will lead the transition to the world that emerges, and we will profit and benefit from it.”

He was talking specifically about Nickelodeon, and how kids are not only watching TV, but playing on smartphones and iPads. That said, what he said could just as easily apply to any of the company’s channels. As long as they produce great programming, people will watch and interact with it.