Cable television stations have been changing formats faster than radio stations these days. Such is the nature of the changing world of cable television today.
However, what is about to happen with Spike TV may be the biggest change in recent memory. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Viacom is expected to announce that Spike TV will be rebranded as Paramount Network.
It seems like a strange move on the surface, as the man-friendly network has had breakout hits like Bar Rescue, Lip Sync Battle and Ink Master in the last decade. But, it also seems that Viacom is looking to give its flagship movie brand a boost on multiple platforms.
The change is reportedly getting its motivation from what happened as Disney was able to synergize its cable and movie divisions for better profitability according to the Hollywood Reporter:
Newly minted Viacom CEO Bob Bakish is said to be plotting a strategy for the company that’s similar to the ultra-synergistic Walt Disney Co. in creating branded entertainment that can be exploited across platforms. To that end, Disney has had great success around its namesake network.
It also is a move that isn’t happening in a vacuum, as cable channels have begun to be rebranded or shut down in droves this year. Oxygen network is being rebranded from a women’s channel to a more crime-focused channel, while the Esquire network is being pulled altogether by the magazine’s owners. Instead, it will resurface as a digital-only channel.
Viacom could also announce some big changes for other cable channels it owns on the call. But, it will be most interesting to see the path laid forward for this new Paramount Network.
Will it just be a bunch of movies from the studio playing on a loop, or will it focus on more original programming a la the Disney Network of today?
That remains to be seen, and likely won’t be known until that Thursday teleconference happens. Either way, this expected move changes the landscape of cable television in a pretty big way.