Viacom’s Internet properties are targeted to the youth and the young at heart. Entertainment for the youth market is the underlying tone in all its digital properties. The Company’s sites cater to Pre-teens, Teens and College Kids through its portfolio of Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and VH1 sites. It has created a niche market through the BET Network by targeting the African American teenagers. We will take a look at the Company’s various online verticals below.
Tweens / Pre-Teens
Viacom, through its portfolio of Nickelodeon sites, is present in the pre-teens space. The popular sites from the Viacom stable in the Tweens and Pre-Teens space are NeoPets.com, Nick.com, Noggin, and NickJr.com. Nickelodeon is among the most popular Internet destinations for kids and Top20Kids, a site that tracks kids sites have ranked Nickelodeon and NickJr among the top 10 sites for kids. Viacom’s kids sites have strong brand and serves up quality content. These sites have games, videos, TV shows, etc.
Online Gaming is huge and this generation of kids love playing games on the computer. Research shows that after school hours, around 3 pm – 4 pm in the evening, 89% of the children are drowned in their computers playing computer games. The gaming sites of Nickelodeon allow the kids to play a host of free games based on their favorite Nickelodeon TV Show characters.
NickJr.com and Nicktropolis also have very good community features and these two sites have created a niche for themselves by offering kids safe social networking services. Nicktropolis offers kids the opportunity to engage in a virtual world full of activities, and safely connect with friends.
Viacom owns this space in the broadcast media and it is looking to doing the same in the online space. Viacom, through its MTV and VH1 brands, has launched a number of sites that cater to the tastes of teenagers.
Viacom serves up various music related programming, videos, news, gossip, etc. on music and artists through its popular music sites MTV, VH1, CMT, etc. MTV.com is among the most popular music sites among teenagers. Music is the great unifier for adolescents, and until iTunes appeared on the scene, Viacom had a clear hold on this cultural phenomenon. Today, that market has become significantly more competitive. Our coverage of the Online Music space is here.
Quizilla.com is an online, user-generated community of original teen authors who create and share quizzes, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, polls, and other creative content. Quizilla is a top-five online destination for teens. MTVU and MySuperSweet16.com allows teen girls to express themselves and is also driven by user generated content.
Viacom has been focusing on enhancing its gaming sites portfolio, another great unifier of this generation of adolescents. Shockwave.com, Addictinggames.com, and Gametrailers.com are some popular gaming sites from the Viacom stable. Shockwave serves some 20 Million players and AddictingGames some 10 Million. AddictingGames launched its Facebook application in June 2007, which is expected to drive additional visitors to the site.
College Kids / Young Adults
Viacom operates Spike TV and ifilm.com, other youth entertainment portals. Virtual Laguna Beach and Virtual Hills with over 360,000 registered users are two immersive virtual entertainment portals, also owned by Viacom.
AboutFilm.com is a site dedicated to movies and features film and video reviews and celebrity interviews. AtomFilms is a broadband entertainment network for original shorts and web shows by independent creators.
Think.MTV.com is an online community site where the youths of the world get to interact with each other.
Comedy Central is the one stop shop for your daily dose of Source for Comedians, Funny Video Clips, TV Shows, Games, Jokes, & Ringtones. Comedy Central’s Indecision2008.com is the perfect site for political junkies who prefer a more irreverent take on the presidential race. This site aggregates video content from Comedy Central’s on-air shows, mixes with original web content and encourages user generated content.
Viacom also has presence in a few niche demographics, including African American, Lesbian and Gay, and Baby Boomers.
The BET Cable Network reaches 85 Million subscribers, and is a subsidiary of Viacom. BET.com is a niche site targeted at the African American youth demographic and gets 2.6 Million unique visitors. The BlackWebPortal.com ranked BET as the third most popular site among black audiences.
LogoOnline is Viacom’s LGBT offering, and operates in conjunction of its niche TV channel.
TV Land is focused on Baby Boomers and features favorite television theme songs from TV Land shows, streams clips and some entire episodes of classic television shows. One can also find show schedules. This seems to be a departure from Viacom’s youth entertainment focused strategy, and frankly, I am not sure what it is doing in their otherwise reasonably consistent portfolio.
Gaps in Viacom’s Portfolio
Viacom has significant presence in the youth and entertainment space. The site has developed communities around niche space like tweens and pre-teens through Nicktropolis, Quizilla, NeoPets and other offerings but it is yet to establish itself in the online community space for teenagers and young adults. It has strong brands like MTV, Spike, VH1, BET, etc. but it has not been able to create the magic of a MySpace or Facebook. They could plug this gap by acquiring sites like Piczo, Xanga, Hi5, etc.
Also, Hispanics is a large and growing demographics, and a segment that is very into music. Viacom could easily create a Hispanic focused segment offering around Latin music.