Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman doesn’t sound anything like Dwight Eisenhower, but he seems to to have the architect of D-Day in mind when he talks about his broad plan to invade retail shelves with licensed merchandise. At Paramount, “for the most part we’re going to greenlight films with consumer products potential,” he told investors today at the Nomura U.S. Media & Telecom Summit. That’s key to his goal for Paramount to “focus on profitability” especially by integrating with other Viacom businesses. He’s particularly excited about Viacom’s plans to relaunch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which Viacom bought for $60M in 2009. The characters will appear in an animated series on Nickelodeon this fall and in a film on Christmas 2013. “Everybody knows the history of it and are excited by the way it’s been reinvented,” Dauman says. “Once you get that strength at the retailer level, it allows you to layer in more properties.” It also ties in with his plan to develop new programs — and marketable characters — to help revive Nickelodeon from its ratings slump. “Nickelodeon will show improvement and it won’t take that long,” he says. Dauman adds that his interest in retail sales contributed to his decision to buy a stake in an Italian animation company with the popular Winx Club franchise, which has “good consumer products for girls.”
Aside from that, the Viacom chief talked up his plans to expand overseas. For example, Viacom has a deal to launch a second Paramount Channel, although it’s “not ready to be announced.” (The first one was introduced in Spain in March.) Too bad, though, that you can’t trademark the word “turbocharge.” If you could, then you’d make a bundle by billing Dauman: He says that Paramount and Nickelodeon will “turbocharge our development” of animation. Epix’s streaming deal with Netflix has “been able to turbocharge” profits for the channel — a joint venture with MGM and Lionsgate. And the declining cost of debt “turbocharges” Viacom’s earnings.
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