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Entertainment

Left on Merger Sidelines, Viacom Strikes Netflix Deal

A frenzy of merger activity has taken over the media sector in the past week, but one company, MTV’s owner Viacom, has been left on the sidelines. Even CBS, which like Viacom is controlled by the Redstone family, rebuffed a merger proposal from Viacom. So Viacom CEO Bob Bakish is trying to revive Viacom’s business by making shows for Netflix and other streaming services.

Plenty of big studios produce shows for streaming services, but Viacom, in an unusual move, plans to have its own networks create the shows. The first, Mr. Bakish revealed in an exclusive interview, will be a Nickelodeon-branded show. That’s uncommon because Netflix competes with cable channels, so Viacom risks driving audiences to the streaming service instead of its own cable networks. But with its revenues stagnant, Viacom needs to find new ways to make money.

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