Dauman: Wireless Industry ‘Respects’ Copyrights


Orlando, Fla. -- Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said the media company is the largest supplier of content to wireless carriers -- producing more than 100 hours of mobile video worldwide each month -- and praised the industry for its “respect” of copyright protections.

Dauman, speaking at the CTIA Wireless 2007 convention here Wednesday, alluded only briefly to the $1 billion lawsuit Viacom filed two weeks ago against Google’s YouTube video-sharing site.

Mobile carriers provide Viacom with a “brand extension that respects copyrights,” Dauman said, adding, “I’m guessing you’re not too surprised about my feelings on that point.”

Wireless, he said, “is a distribution medium and a business model that works for everyone -- carriers, content providers and consumers. That is its genius and its point of competitive differentiation.”

Viacom currently has content-distribution partnerships with 80 carriers worldwide that have access to a combined 1.2 billion subscribers. “Frankly if there’s a wireless provider here that does not carry Viacom content, call me, please. We need to talk,” Dauman said.

Those mobile partnerships are “not just a source of ancillary revenue for us,” he added. “They are core to where we are headed as a multiplatform programming company … We aim to be where our young audiences are and, as you know, they live on their cell phones.”

The next phase of Viacom’s mobile strategy: to expand advertising and marketing. Dauman announced that MTV Networks signed Pepsi-Cola North America and Intel as charter sponsors across a variety of its mobile offerings. He added that the deals mark the first time MTVN has sold advertising across its mobile portfolio, with Pepsi and Intel brands to be featured on the MTV and Comedy Central mobile-TV channels and newly launched mobile Web sites from MTV, VH1 and Comedy.

Viacom, Dauman said, can deliver ad inventory across 132 TV networks, 40 mobile-TV channels and more than 150 Internet properties with 76 million unique monthly users.

“What we can offer these advertisers is an utterly distinct multiplatform package that encompasses television, the Internet and mobile,” he added. “Viacom is one of a handful of companies that can offer this sort of mix … Savvy marketers know relying solely on TV won’t give them sufficient reach.”

Dauman drew a comparison between the wireless industry today and “the one Viacom helped pioneer 20 years ago -- cable.”

In the 1980s, he said, cable was working out technical kinks and dealing with customer-support issues and competing standards, and it ultimately needed “high-quality content” to produce growth. “Sound familiar?” he asked.

In propounding the need for content to drive mobile growth, Dauman outlined Viacom's new mobile-content initiatives:

• MTVN expanded its partnership with Sprint Nextel to provide 14 different live streaming and video-on-demand channels -- the most of any carrier, according to the companies.

• Comedy launched South Park 10: The Game, a 40-level mobile game based on the first 10 seasons of the show featuring its famously foul-mouthed characters.

• Wireless-service provider Amp'd Mobile will feature content from MTVN’s Nickelodeon and The N on new channels, and Amp'd will also launch in the second quarter a dedicated SpongeBob SquarePants channel.

GameTrailers.com launched a new mobile-video channel that includes a mobile series called Go Gaming dedicated to wireless games, initially available on Amp'd with other carriers to follow.

• BET Networks launched the 106 & Park Mobile Fan Club, which provides free ring tones and access to exclusive content and events from the music-video show.