Viacom's MTV Networks acquires net content producer Atom Entertainment

Posted by Scott M. Fulton, III

New York (NY) - Anyone who thought the new Viacom Inc. would be hindered in its ability to deal with cross-platform content, after its split with former corporate sibling CBS, probably finds himself severely mistaken this week. In a deal that's keeping MTV Networks in the news, the Viacom division is purchasing Web video and gaming content provider Atom Entertainment - itself the parent company of Shockwave.com - for the tidy sum of $200 million.

Just last November, the Shockwave division launched a project that would deliver advertising-supplemented online games, which is a field that continues to grow at a phenomenal rate. When a new company powers a burgeoning market segment, "growth" is usually measured not by how fast that company becomes big, but by how fast it's absorbed. Last April, in-game messaging firm Xfire was also acquired by Viacom, to be rolled into its MTV Networks suite of brands. Like Xfire, Atom has its own distinct product - Atom's is a distribution service for independent movies through online streaming - but Shockwave (not to be confused by the Adobe software product of the same name) may be the fruit of the apple, at least from the point of the apple's new consumer.

Viacom CEO Joe Freston may have cleverly enumerated the relative priority of Atom's businesses with this statement: "This acquisition is right on the money with our digital strategy. It adds great scale with users, improves our growing casual gaming position, and brings a world-class digital video library and a fantastic management team."