Last year, Viacom shut down the game publishing operation of its publishing division, Simon & Schuster, after a string of flops. However, this year, the media giant–which also owns Paramount, CBS, MTV, BET, and Showtime, among other companies–is looking to get back into the game business, albeit via new tack.
Speaking today at the Global Digital Summit, a conference of advertising executives, Viacom CFO Richard Bressler said his company is exploring how to profit from in-game advertisements. “The interesting thing for us is to figure out if there’s a market for advertising in video games,” he said, according to Reuters. While he offered no concrete plans, Bressler did indicate his company was intrigued by the how gamers remain glued to their consoles. “People are spending a lot of time in interactive,” he said.
Normally, Bressler’s comments would have only been marginally newsworthy. However, in light of Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone’s recent takeover of Midway Games, they may augur the company’s future game plan, so to speak. Currently, Redstone owns 72.4 of percent of Midway, and has retained a financial advisor to evaluate options should he increase his ownership to 80 percent. Redstone has also recently reshuffled Midway’s board of directors, making former VU CEO Kenneth Cron chairman and placing his daughter (and heir apparent) Shari Redstone on the decision-making body.
Redstone’s moves have led a number of prominent analysts to speculate that he is considering taking Midway private. Others speculate such a move would be a precursor to Redstone folding Midway into Viacom, whose Nickelodeon properties have provided many-a-profitable game license. Bressler’s words today will likely further fuel such speculation.
News source: Gamespot