Inside a Transformative 2019 for ViacomCBS -- and What's to Come in 2020
More than perhaps any other company, 2019 was a game-changing year for ViacomCBS(NASDAQ: VIAC). While it's well known that Viacom and CBS finally consummated their merger in December, 13 years after they had initially split apart in 2006, the combined companies also made several other big moves in 2019. Here's a rundown of the all the big events that happened for CBS and Viacom in 2019 -- and what's in store for 2020. With an influx of new streaming services hitting the market in late 2019 and early 2020, ViacomCBS appears to have a solid position with the leading free streaming service -- though more competition will be dropping next year when NBCUniversal drops Peacock, which is supposed to have a free ad-supported tier. And The Wall Street Journal just reported that NBCUniversal parent Comcast(NASDAQ: CMCSA) is in advanced talks to acquire another free streaming service, Xumo, to add to its arsenal. This had seemed improbable to many, with the rise of cord-cutting and a fragmenting viewership for cable TV audiences. However, under CEO Bob Bakish's leadership, the combination of Viacom's targeted advertising technology, increased inventory from PlutoTV, and solid content across Viacom's niche-oriented channels helped turn the TV ad segment around. While streaming competition still looms large heading into 2020, the return to ad revenue growth means Viacom shouldn't be counted out and that a long-term decline isn't inevitable.