Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone and new Chief Executive Philippe Dauman have made it clear that reviving MTV Networks is a top priority. The key issues are flagging ad growth and digital rivals to the company's stable of cable TV brands.


Since Viacom Chief Executive Tom Freston was ousted last fall, MTV has seen the exit of President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Wolf, President of Affiliate Sales and Marketing Nicole Browning and Executive Vice President of Cable TV Distribution Peter Low.


One of the survivors of the executive reshuffling has been MTV Networks Chief Executive Judy McGrath. In an e-mail to employees last week announcing that 250 jobs would be cut, McGrath acknowledged the challenges that Viacom's cable channels face.


"Our industry is at an inflection point, and many companies are going through the process of adapting their business models and organizations to the new realities," she said.


The cuts will be split between the New York and Santa Monica offices, where more than 300 are employed. The layoffs will come across all the network's channels and departments in the U.S that's 6 percent of Viacom's domestic workforce and 4 percent of the corporation's worldwide staff.


Reveille, Akimbo Partner

Hollywood production company Reveille LLC will distribute its library titles to Akimbo Systems Inc., the digital download service that sends niche and mainstream content via broadband to the TV.


The Akimbo service will feature Reveille-produced shows "Adrenaline X," "House Wars" and "Meet Mr. Mom." UTA Online, the new digital division of Beverly Hills-based United Talent Agency, brokered the deal.


Akimbo's service includes studio movies, indie films, foreign language shows and a host of niche videos. To use the service, consumers must have an Akimbo set-top box connected to their TV. Akimbo delivers that content via the Internet.


Reveille produces NBC's "The Office" and ABC's "Ugly Betty."


Asian Connection

Last week, West Hollywood-based M2B World Inc.'s Asian arm, M2B Asia, secured its first large-scale distribution deal for its M2Btv PONY Internet protocol TV system.


Under the non-exclusive deal, 50,000 of the set-top consoles, which look somewhat like small cable boxes, will be distributed to Malaysia over a three-year period through a division of Malaysian firm MOL AccessPortal.


Internet Protocol TV uses a broadband network connection and a set-top box to distribute video content over the Internet. The company has sold more than 15,000 of the boxes worldwide to date.


Staff reporter Anne Riley-Katz can be reached at ariley-katz@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 225.

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