@ CTIA: Interview: Philippe Dauman, President & CEO, Viacom

As mentioned earlier, I interviewed Philippe Dauman, president and CEO of Viacom, following his CTIA keynote this morning. We talked as we walked through the convention hall (hence some of the subtle background noise) making the most of a crowded schedule during his whirlwind trip to Orlando. (Most of the keynote execs zip in and out.) Dauman was relaxed during the keynote — as relaxed as you can get when the lights are glaring and you can’t see who you’re talking to — and he seemed equally comfortable during our conversation. We talked about how important wireless is to Viacom’s future, the company”s current and future plans, and spent a few minutes on the C word — copyright. You can download the mp3 or listen to it online .
Some excerpts:
Mobile’s importance to Viacom: Dauman: “This is a very good platform for the type of content we produce. We appeal to the early adapters of any kind of technology and our consumers really love the wireless platform. We believe in not only providing the content we produce on air for this platform but we also want to produce original content.”
Bottom line: Dauman: “It’s a small business for us today but it is growing extremely rapidly. It’s one of the fastest growing parts of our company. It’s a small portion of the company today — the growth is huge off a relatively small base but I think the growth will continue to be huge for years to come. I expect this business to be a very significant part of our business as we look forward to the long-term future. It’s an important part of our strategy to be on every distribution platform that exists today or will exist in the future.”
Business models: When I asked about a time when mobile TV might be ad-supported to the point of lowering monthly subscription costs, Dauman talked about how the ad model helps support the cost of creating programming. As for business models, “I think they’ll be different economic models that will be developed by the carriers over time and we’ll try different models and we’ll see what resonates best with consumers.”
Advertising: Asked about multiple revenue steams from advertising on and off deck, Dauman mentioned another major way Viacom makes money from mobile advertising — advertising about mobile from carriers who need Viacom’s audience: “We love the fact that they’re competing with each other to provide new services to customers and new handsets. … The influencers of purchasing decisions are getting younger and younger.”
Amp’d: Viacom is an investor in Amp’d and the companies have done several content deals, including one announced today for an exclusive SpongeBob SquarePants channel. Dauman: “It gives us a platform. It allows us to experiment.” He mentioned the show Lil Bush that started for Amp’d and is now moving to cable, adding that he expects to see a lot more of moving content from platform to platform. “We are the largest owner of content and we’re going to continue that strength. We’re playing our strength. That what it’s all about.”
We’ll have excerpts about copyright, Google, Joost, etc. on our sister site paidContent.org.