From The TV IV
Viacom is the name for several connected media companies:
- Viacom (1971), the original company, created in 1971 after CBS spun off the original CBS Enterprises (see below). In 1986, Viacom was reincorporated, acquired Paramount Communications (parent company of the original Paramount Television) in 1994 and former parent CBS in 1999. In 2005 it was reincorporated as CBS Corporation, bringing it full circle to its roots.
- Viacom Enterprises was a TV distribution company originally created as CBS Films in 1952, then renamed CBS Enterprises in January 1968. It was spun off in 1971 for legal reasons, becoming a subsidiary of the independent Viacom. Viacom Enterprises was later folded into Paramount Television's distribution unit, today known as CBS Television Distribution, due to Viacom's purchase of Paramount Communications.
- Viacom Productions, a TV production company formed by Viacom Enterprises in 1974 to produce shows for the American networks. After the original Viacom acquired Paramount Communications, it continued as a separate production company until 2004, when it was absorbed into Paramount Television (now known as CBS Television Studios).
- Viacom (2005), a media company spun off from the original Viacom in 2005. It is the current owner of MTV Networks, BET Networks and Paramount Pictures (including the resurrected Paramount Television, re-established in March 2013). It is slated to re-merge with CBS Corporation in late-2019 (pending regulatory and shareholder approval), with the newly re-merged entity to be known as ViacomCBS.