ViacomCBS' Dependence On NFL Causing "Continued Concerns"
Thursday was the first day of trading on the NYSE for the merged ViacomCBS, but there are "continued concerns" about the company's dependence on sports rights, especially the NFL, according to CNBC's David Faber. Increasingly more media companies are creating a direct-to-consumer platform, but ViacomCBS is "taking a more hybrid approach." CNBC's Jim Cramer said, "Hybrid is a stretch." He noted ViacomCBS is in the "content business," including the NFL, but "everyone is so afraid" companies like Amazon and Google could acquire more and more sports rights. Faber noted Fox is now in the same situation, as it is a "small company" and NFL rights are "incredibly important to them as well." Faber: "The NFL becomes this key property for both Fox and CBS. Then this question of, will Amazon really come to play, will Facebook, will Alphabet? It's hard to imagine that the NFL still won't have a home on these major networks, but will there be deals that are different in a way that they give off certain things and you still have to pay a lot more for them?" Cramer noted the NFL's "numbers are excellent this year" and this is "not something that is a declining asset." Faber: "The NFL is what distinguishes them. That's at least what some who are critics of this deal would say it's still about -- ViacomCBS' ability to have sports programming." Cramer said the "quality of NBC, CBS and Fox football is really rather extraordinary and they represent the product in a way the NFL loves" ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 12/5).