Web 2.0 Summit: Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman

Published on October 18, 2007
by John Paczkowski

John Heileman, contributing editor at New York magazine, begins the conversation with Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman by discussing the plan unveiled today to post Comedy Central’s “Daily Show With Jon Stewart” on the Web. As owner of Comedy Central, Viacom is seeking to spread the cable channel’s content on many platforms, thus creating a “richer” experience for viewers, according to Dauman.

Dauman also comments on the recently announced guidelines protecting online copyrights, which Viacom has signed, saying he believes it’s an effort to address the concerns of consumers and content providers alike. But Heileman slyly interjects that Google did not sign on to the guidelines, issuing instead its own “video identification” tools to be used on YouTube. Dauman notes that although the timing of the new system is “interesting,” he’s not so sure it will definitively settle the matter (or the lawsuit Viacom has filed against YouTube for copyright infringement).

Speaking of money: Dauman tells the crowd that Viacom expects to boost online revenues from $250 million to $500 million this year. How, exactly? By developing a multitude of sites related to Viacom properties and driving traffic to them. (For a more detailed description of this business plan, see Eric Savitz’s Tech Trader Daily post.)

One thing all that new dough won’t be spent on is a play for Facebook, Dauman says. Facing competition from Microsoft, Google and Yahoo, he notes such a bid is “beyond our capacity.”

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