Viacom Learning Points

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Viacom is an international media corporation that focuses its business on cable networking. Its two key networks: MTV and Nickelodeon have been aggressively expended internationally. The Viacom case tells us:

* The Cultural Proximity Theory: Audiences prefer watching programs that make them feel cultural-relevant even when broadcaster is a foreign network.

* For products, think global, act local! Viacom has been successful at localizing content. For example, Nickelodeon launched networks in a variety of languages in countries that span the global, such as China, Japan, UK, Germany, etc. And for MTV, its competitor Channel V in India push it to feature more Hindi musicians.

* Viacom applied a global distribution strategy, but with some local adaption. For instance, Dora the Explorer, one of the main program of Viacom, was available through satellite channels across Europe, however, it provided much broader access for children in the United Kingdom who do not have cable or satellite television. Think global, act local.

* Promotion is particularly sensitive to cultural differences, so it is important to have a localized and structured IMC plan that have a global appeal but some local execution. MTV clearly fits into the local culture by packaging local artists through the MTV format. In China, Viacom merged with the NO.1 search engine Baidu so that online viewing and downloading is available to Chinese users. And Nickelodeon applies new media by released a new videogame of SpongeBob franchise to global audiences with special attention being paid to Asia.

* Exporting cartoons around the world is convenient, cheap and profitable. The cartoon program products are easier for export because the ease of dubbing eliminate the problem of language being a barrier for international communication.

* Except core products such as SpongeBob Squarepants and Dora the Explorer, there are also many augmented products go...
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