This is part of the Viacom chief’s no-worries pitch to Wall Street, where many investors have been freaked out by the ratings woes at Nickelodeon and MTV. “We’re looking to expand everywhere in the world” Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said in a lunch presentation at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. The company’s strongest in Europe, especially the UK. But it’s looking everywhere to add overseas channels for Nickelodeon and Nick Jr, Comedy Central, and the relatively new Paramount Channel. Viacom “will announce several launches over the next year,” Dauman says. Over time “I expect the Paramount Channel to be one of our global channels and present on every continent.” He acknowledged that “there are difficult economic conditions” in parts of Europe including Greece and Portugal. But he says that “we’re reaching a point of bottoming out” and “outside of Europe there are pockets of strength” including in Mexico. Viacom already has a strong foothold in India where it’s one of the top four media groups “and will be forever.” Meanwhile Dauman is looking at other opportunities in Asia. He’s encouraged to see that as a result of changes in trade rules with China, there have been 34 western movies released there this year vs 20 the previous year. Titanic 3D, which Paramount co-distributed with Fox, generated more than $10M at box offices there. Dauman also sees fertile ground abroad for his effort to promote sales of merchandise built around his company’s characters. For example, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a property it can roll out virtually everywhere, including on channels not controlled by Viacom. “What Turtles adds for us is a boy oriented property,” he says. “This is a long term initiative.”
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