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BET Networks

Viacom Media Networks
MTV Networks (1984-2011)
IndustryEntertainment, cable and satellite television
PredecessorWarner-Amex Satellite Entertainment
FoundedJuly 19, 1984; 35 years ago (1984-07-19)
New York City, New York, U.S.
FounderRobert Pittman
1515 Broadway, One Astor Plaza, New York City, NY
(merger with CBS Corporation pending)
WebsiteViacom Brands

Viacom Media Networks (formerly known as MTV Networks) is an American mass media division of Viacom that oversees the operations of many of its television channels and Internet brands. Its sister international division is Viacom International Media Networks.


The company was founded in 1984 after Warner Communications and American Express decided to divest the basic cable assets of Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, renaming it as MTV Networks, Inc.[1] Warner-Amex had originally created and owned Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1 and The Movie Channel (TMC). Viacom acquired 66% of the company in 1985 and then acquired the remaining 34% interest in 1986. MTV Networks was renamed Viacom Media Networks in 2011.

In 2000, following Viacom's acquisition of CBS Corporation, The Nashville Network and CMT, the two channels owned by CBS by that time, became part of MTV Networks, with The Nashville Network becoming TNN.

In 2001, Viacom purchased Washington-based Black Entertainment Television, and integrated it into MTV Networks, which caused outcry from some BET workers. As a result, MTV Networks formed BET Networks, to be the owners of BET.

In 2003, Comedy Central became part of MTV Networks after Viacom's acquisition of the remaining shares of the latter from Time Warner. The joint dates back to 1991, when HA! and Time Warner's The Comedy Channel merged.

In January 2006, the remnants of Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment (MTV Networks and Showtime Networks) were separated following *old* Viacom's split into 2 entities (*new* Viacom which retained MTV Networks, and CBS Corporation which became Showtime Networks new owner).

In the fall of 2012, media analysts began to report that ratings amongst some of Viacom's leading brands in the U.S were experiencing declines in viewership.[2][3] MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon were of most concern to investors as the three account for roughly 50% of Viacom's operating profit, estimated David Bank of RBC Capital Markets.

In 2017, Viacom announced a five-point restructuring plan, in which the company would pour most of its resources behind six "flagship brands". These were MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., BET, and Paramount Pictures.[4][5][6][7] In February 2017, cable channels CMT and TV Land were moved from the Kids and Family Group to the Global Entertainment Group under Kevin Kay, joining up with Spike TV.[8] During the same month, it was announced that Spike would be relaunched as Paramount Network in 2018, aligning with the namesake film studio and being positioned as Viacom's main general entertainment outlet.[9][10]

In October 2018, Kevin Kay was announced to be leaving his position as head of the Entertainment Group. CMT was transferred from the Entertainment Group to the Music Group under president Chris McCarthy, with his exit. Executive Kent Alterman would take charge of Paramount Network and TV Land to go with his current leadership of Comedy Central and Bellator MMA.[11]

In 2019, after acquiring the free streaming service Pluto TV, Viacom would launch several channels on the service branded after its Media Networks and company-owned IP.[12][13][14][15]

In August 2019, Viacom announced that it will merge with *new* CBS Corporation, reuniting Viacom Media Networks with Showtime Networks. Pop TV, CBS's lone basic cable channel (which was acquired in 2013 as TVGN, originally in partnership with Lionsgate), will join the Viacom Media Networks group post-merger. CBS Sports Network will continue to be overseen by CBS interim CEO Joseph Ianniello as part of the CBS-branded properties.

Channels list


1Channel started as Ha!, merged with HBO's The Comedy Channel the following year, became fully owned by Viacom in 2003.
2Originally TNN from 1983 to 2003 (as The Nashville Network until 1997; as The National Network until 2003) and was known as Spike until January 2018.
3Channel was originally known as VH1 MegaHits before being discontinued in July 2005 to facilitate Logo launch.
4Channel originally owned by CBS, became part of MTV Networks when CBS merged with Viacom.
5Created as VH1 Country prior to Viacom/CBS merger.
6Channel was created by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment originally known as Pinwheel until 1979 when it was rebranded as Nickelodeon.
7Channel was originally known as Noggin before being rebranded as Nick Jr. in 2009. Co-owned with Sesame Workshop from 1999 to 2002.
8Channel was originally known MTV Hits until 2016 when it was rebranded as NickMusic.
9Channel was originally known as Nicktoons TV until 2003 when it was rebranded as Nicktoons which was rebranded again as Nicktoons Network in 2005 and finally rebranded yet again as Nicktoons once more in 2009.
10Channel was originally known as The N before being rebranded as TeenNick in 2009.
11Programming block was originally known as "The 90's Are All That" until 2015, "The Splat" until 2017 and "NickSplat" until 2019.

Internet properties

The company also owns internet properties, such as MTV News and AwesomenessTV. The company ran a virtual world system, Virtual MTV, in the late 2000s.[16] It formerly owned Neopets, Atom Entertainment,, and other web properties before shutting them down or selling them to other companies in the 2000s and 2010s.

New York headquarters

Gaming properties

In 2006, Viacom acquired Harmonix, a video game studio oriented towards music video games and the original developer of the Guitar Hero franchise, for $175 million.[17] The two subsequently collaborated on the creation of Rock Band.[18] That year, Viacom also acquired the gaming-oriented communications platform Xfire.[19]

In 2010, Harmonix was divested to an investment firm to become an independent studio,[20][21] and Xfire was sold.[22]

In 2011, Viacom established a new in-house studio known as 345 Games, which is dedicated primarily to developing games based on Comedy Central and MTV properties.[23]

Viacom International Media Networks

Viacom International Media Networks is a division of Viacom International. Its headquarters are in New York, London, Warsaw and Buenos Aires. It consists of MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Colors.

The Viacom International Media Networks network consists of:

Former brands include TMF, VIVA and Game One along with digital properties Nitrome Limited, Shockwave, Addicting Games, Atom Films and Xfire have all been merged into other Viacom Media Networks, shut down or since been sold off.

See also


  1. ^ "BUSINESS PEOPLE ; A Chief Is Named By MTV Networks". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. July 19, 1984. Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ Jannarone, John (October 28, 2012). "Audiences Fall for MTV, Comedy Central". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013.
  3. ^ Flint, Joe (October 10, 2012). "MTV has big ratings issue, analyst warns". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013.
  4. ^ Lieberman, David (February 9, 2017). "Viacom CEO Supports Paramount And Non-Core Networks - But For How Long?". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^ "Viacom Stock Rises on Restructuring". Multichannel. February 9, 2017. Retrieved 2019.
  6. ^ "Viacom Unveils Five-Point Turnaround Plan (MESA)". February 9, 2017. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ "Viacom outlines five point turnaround plan". TBI Vision. February 9, 2017. Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (February 1, 2017). "Viacom Restructure: CMT, TV Land Moved to Kevin Kay's Global Entertainment Group". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019.
  9. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 9, 2017). "Spike President On Channel's Rebranding As The Paramount Network". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 9, 2017). "Spike To Change Name & Become The Paramount Network In Viacom Rebranding". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2017.
  11. ^ Holloway, Daniel; Otterson, Joe (October 25, 2018). "Kevin Kay Exits Paramount Network as Viacom Reorganizes Cable Channels". Variety. Retrieved 2019.
  12. ^ "Viacom Acquires Free Streaming Platform Pluto TV for $340 Million". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ "Viacom Announces Completion of Pluto TV Acquisition". March 4, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  14. ^ Spangler, Todd; Spangler, Todd (April 29, 2019). "Viacom Launching 14 Free Channels on Pluto TV, Sets Broad Digital Originals Slate". Variety. Retrieved 2019.
  15. ^ Peterson, Tim (April 16, 2019). "Viacom will debut 15 channels on Pluto TV to bolster its upfront pitch". Retrieved 2019.
  16. ^ "Virtual MTV Launches Alpha of Browser-Based Experience". Engage Digital. February 5, 2009. Retrieved 2015.
  17. ^ "MTV acquires Harmonix for USD $175 million". Retrieved 2017.
  18. ^ Kohler, Chris (September 14, 2007). "A Glimpse Into Harmonix's Punk-Rock Design Process". Wired. Retrieved 2008.
  19. ^ "Viacom to acquire Xfire". GameSpot. April 24, 2006. Retrieved 2017.
  20. ^ Halliday, Josh (December 24, 2010). "Viacom sells Rock Band game studio". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010.
  21. ^ Marie, Meagan (December 23, 2010). "Viacom Sells Harmonix To Columbus Nova". Game Informer. Retrieved 2010.
  22. ^ Wauters, Robin. "Exclusive: Titan Gaming Takes Xfire Off Viacom's Hands". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017.
  23. ^ "MTV Networks Group Launches 345 Games". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017.
  24. ^ "MTV Latin America Confirms Rock Band Thirty Seconds to Mars to Perform at... - MEXICO CITY, July 16 /PRNewswire/". Mexico: Retrieved 2012.

External links

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