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The original incarnation of Viacom Inc. (derived from "Video & Audio Communications") was an American mass media and entertainment conglomerate based in New York City. It began as CBS Television Film Sales, the broadcast syndication division of the CBS television network in 1952; it was renamed CBS Films in 1958, renamed CBS Enterprises in 1968, renamed Viacom in 1970, and spun off into its own company in 1971. Viacom was a distributor of CBS television series throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and also distributed syndicated television programs. The company went under Sumner Redstone's control in 1987 through his cinema chain company National Amusements.
|Industry||Broadcasting and publishing|
|Founded||March 16, 1952; 71 years ago (1952-03-16)|
|Defunct||December 31, 2005; 17 years ago (2005-12-31)|
|Fate||Split into the second incarnations of CBS Corporation and Viacom|
|Sumner Redstone (Chairman and CEO)|
Tom Freston (Co-President and Co-COO)
Les Moonves (Co-President and Co-COO)
Simon & Schuster
King World Productions
Westinghouse Licensing Corporation
At the time of its split, Viacom's assets included the CBS and UPN broadcast networks, the Paramount Pictures film & television studio, local radio station operator CBS Radio, cable channels such as MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET and Showtime, outdoor media operator Viacom Outdoor, television production and distribution firm King World Productions, and book publisher Simon & Schuster. It also owned its IP holding subsidiary Viacom International and brand licensor Westinghouse Licensing Corporation.
In 2000, Viacom acquired the parent company of CBS, the former Westinghouse Electric Corporation, which became the original CBS Corporation in 1997. Viacom was split into the second CBS Corporation and Viacom incarnations — both remained under National Amusements ownership — in 2005; the split was structured with the second CBS Corporation being the original Viacom's legal successor, and the second Viacom being an entirely new company.