There are dueling views on who is winning the battle for supremacy in the eyes of the notoriously combative media mogul Sumner Redstone. On one side is Philippe Dauman, head of Viacom, who recently decided to form a new movie channel to distribute films from Viacom's Paramount. On the other side is Les Moonves at CBS, who was allegedly "royally screwed" by Dauman's new channel since it ended the hope that his Showtime network would screen Paramount films. Daubman hopes the incident will help him get CBS and Viacom merged back together and put under his control, the Post reported this morning. Not so fast, said the Wall Street Journal: Dauman's movie channel is a supremely bad idea.
The cable and satellite companies that would have to carry the new channel aren't convinced the world needs another movie service, according to executives at several companies. Even Comcast Corp., which owns 20% of MGM, has little interest in carrying a new movie channel, according to a person close to that company.
"Movies are not as much a part of the mix" with the growth of video-on-demand, says Michael Willner, chief executive of Insight Communications, a cable operator primarily in the Midwest. "If they are just another outlet for movies they will have a tough go."
Of course, it's impossible for any human to win Cranky Redstone's enduring love. As the old expression goes, the only way to win is not to play the game.