Viacom, Inc. (short for Video & Audio Communications) is an American global mass media company with interests primarily in cinema and cable television. It is the world's sixth largest broadcasting and cable company in terms of revenue (behind Comcast, The Walt Disney Company, Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc., Time Warner, and CBS Corporation, respectively). Voting control of Viacom is held by National Amusements, Inc., a privately owned theater company controlled by billionaire Sumner Redstone. Redstone also holds, via National Amusements, a controlling stake in CBS Corporation.
The current Viacom was created on December 31, 2005, as a spinoff from CBS Corporation, which changed its name from Viacom to CBS at the same time. CBS, not Viacom, retains control of the over-the-air broadcasting, TV production, outdoor advertising, subscription pay television (Showtime) and publishing assets (Simon & Schuster) previously owned by the pre-split company. Predecessor firms of Viacom include Gulf+Western, which later became Paramount Communications Inc., and Westinghouse Electric Corporation.
Comprising BET Networks, Viacom Media Networks, and Paramount Pictures, Viacom operates approximately 170 networks reaching approximately 700 million subscribers in 160 countries.