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Viacom "is a leading media conglomerate with an extensive portfolio of cable TV and film production assets. Its MTV Networks unit runs such cable networks as Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and the family of MTV channels (MTV, MTV2, VH1). Viacom also owns Black Entertainment Television, which airs programming on BET, BET Gospel, and BET Hip Hop. In the film business, Viacom operates through Paramount Pictures, which includes the DreamWorks imprint. Chairman Sumner Redstone controls a majority of Viacom through his National Amusements movie theater chain." [1]

At the end of 2005 CBS was separated from Viacom. Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone still has more than 70% voting control over CBS through his National Amusements cinema chain. [2] [3]


During 2003-4, Viacom refused to run advertisements of [1], [2], [3]

  • In February 2003, the grass-roots advocacy group-solicited donations from its email members to raise $75,000 to place an anti-war ad on billboards in four major American markets. The group claims that they raised the amount from members in two hours. When they approached Viacom Outdoor -- a division of Viacom and the largest outdoor-advertising entity in North America -- the company refused to post the ads, according to MoveOn.
  • In March 2003 MTV, another Viacom-owned entity, refused to accept a commercial opposing war in Iraq, citing a similar policy against advocacy spots that it says protects the channel from having to run ads from any cash-rich interest group whose cause may be loathsome. The youth-oriented music station regularly airs recruitment ads for the U.S. Army.
  • In January 2004, CBS rejected a request from MoveOn to air, during the forthcoming SuperBowl event, a 30-second ad that criticizes the Bush administration's run-up of the federal deficit, saying that it violated the network's policy against accepting "advocacy advertising" [sic].

Political contributions

Viacom gave $149,000 to federal candidates in the 2006 election cycle through its political action committee - 37% to Democrats and 63% to Republicans. [4]


Open Secrets gives the total lobbying expenses in 2006 for Viacom plus CBS as $6,915,000. [5]


Key executives with 2007 pay:[6]

Selected board members: [10]

Contact details

1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
Phone: 212-258-6000
Fax: 212-258-6464


  1. Viacom Profile, Hoovers, accessed July 2007.
  2. CBS Separation, Viacom, accessed July 2007.
  3. CBS Profile, Hoovers, accessed July 2007.
  4. 2006 PAC Summary Data, Open Secrets, accessed July 2007.
  5. Viacom lobbying expenses, Open Secrets.
  6. Viacom Key Executives, Yahoo Finance, accessed July 2007.
  7. Sumner M Redstone, Forbes, accessed April 2008.
  8. Philippe P Dauman, Forbes, accessed April 2008.
  9. Michael D Fricklas, Forbes, accessed April 2008.
  10. Board of Directors, Viacom, accessed July 2007.

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