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CBS, Viacom plan reunion for streaming

NEW YORK (AP) — CBS and Viacom announced a long-anticipated reunion Tuesday, bringing together their television networks and the Paramount movie studio as traditional media giants bulk up to challenge streaming companies like Netflix.

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, who will become CEO of the combined company, said the new ViacomCBS will be “one of only a few companies with the breadth and depth of content and reach to shape the future of our industry.”

Analysts say the reunion will help both companies navigate an ever-competitive streaming landscape.

Viacom owns Paramount Pictures and pay TV channels such as Comedy Central, MTV and BET, while CBS has a broadcast network, television stations, Showtime and a stake in The CW over-the-air network. MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson said Paramount’s movie library could be added to Showtime’s premium networks and streaming service, for instance, while CBS’ streaming service could get a boost from Viacom’s Nickelodeon video.

Once the all-stock deal is completed, expected by the end of the year, CBS shareholders will own about 61 percent of the combined company and Viacom shareholders will own the rest. The companies say the combined company will have $28 billion in revenue. By combining, the companies say they will save $500 million a year.

Acting CBS CEO Joe Ianniello will become chairman and CEO of the CBS division in the combined company.

CBS, which separated from Viacom in 2006, was one of the first media companies to launch its own streaming service, CBS All Access. The $6-a-month service now has a new “Star Trek” series, a revival of “The Twilight Zone” and archives of old and current broadcast shows.

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