Despite the worldwide economic freefall, the annual MIPCOM TV market got underway on Monday expecting record attendance.
Viacom president and CEO, Philippe Dauman, opened the event with a keynote speech on Monday evening during which he noted, 'We are the creators of escape; this may be the best time to be in the content entertainment business.'
Dauman addressed Viacom's current strategy within the economic framework saying, 'We have to continue to manage and grow our content and look beyond the crisis.' Whatever happens, he intoned, 'The thought should be 'We will get out of it'.'
Regarding reports on Friday that Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone had been forced to sell $400m worth of non-voting stock in Viacom and CBS, Dauman corrected the figure and said it was only $230m. 'It was not an easy day; everyone knows he loves those stocks so it was hard for him to part with them,' said Dauman who also shot down a report by a Barclays analyst who said Viacom and CBS could now be in play.
With regard to Paramount, Dauman said, 'We've made great strides in developing a sound long term strategy.' He was referring to franchises like the Indiana Jones films, the Transformers series and Iron Man. Further, he pointed to the policy of developing films out of established brands such as Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender, which M. Night Shyamalan is adapting.
On other new franchises, Dauman was demure but did seem to hint that there could be movement in the future on Nickelodeon's show for young/pre teens, iCarly.