On an earnings call last month, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman warned that restructuring, and layoffs, were in the media company’s near future. While that has thus far fueled speculation of all kinds, with some even suggesting that the company could merge with CBS, until that rumor was quashed by Les Moonves. Most recently, senior Viacom execs have been heading for the door.
On Tuesday, Viacom Music group president Van Toffler announced that he will be departing in April. The longtime MTV veteran oversaw Viacom’s MTV, VH1, CMT, and Logo channels, guiding multiple brand overhauls and flagship television shows during his tenure. Following Toffler’s announcement, TV Land president Larry Jones confirmed that he was also planning to leave Viacom after 27 years. In addition to network executives, Viacom’s Comedy Central will be losing one of its strongest assets in the Daily Show’s funnyman Jon Stewart.
While layoffs are never positive for morale, restructuring is not a universally bad thing for companies of Viacom’s size. However, as more of the company’s leaders abandon ship, it only makes the situation look more grim. Nevertheless, despite ratings struggles, the company’s various media properties combine for a strong portfolio of content that will be essential to success as the television experience transitions from being delivered by cable to being delivered by the web. Having recently announced a streaming service for children’s network Nickelodeon, one would expect Viacom to be well positioned to monetize the rest of their catalog online.