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The King of Content

Sumner Redstone’s Battle for Viacom, CBS, and Everlasting Control of His Media Empire
Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (40 ratings)
Regular price: $30.79
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Publisher's Summary

Sumner Murray Redstone, once feared as the “mad genius” of media who would dump his CEOs for mere wobbles in his companies’ stock price, had built one of the world’s greatest media empires through a series of audacious takeovers constructed to ensure that he always maintained control. Today he controls 80 percent of the voting shares of both Viacom and CBS, meaning that on a whim he could replace the entire boards of two public companies with a combined value of $40 billion. He spent decades performing meticulous estate planning so that his control would extend beyond the grave (which he loved telling reporters he would never lie in), constructing trusts designed to make it impossible for his heirs to sell his companies after he died. “Unless they start doing terribly,” he told the Wall Street Journal in 2012, “which they will not.”

As listeners will discover in The King of Content, Redstone’s confidence at the time was not misplaced. His life up to that point had been a story of exceeding expectations, climbing from the son of a linoleum peddler in the Jewish immigrant tenements of Boston’s West End to Harvard Law School, from the president of his father’s regional drive-in movie chain to the owner of Viacom, from a cerebral lawyer who shopped at Filene’s Basement to the owner of a coveted Hollywood studio, and ultimately, after the Viacom-CBS merger, to the controlling shareholder of the largest merged media entity in US history. The credo that he coined and repeated for decades - “content is king” - turned out to be more true in the digital world than he could have ever guessed.

Through exclusive interview and hundreds of pages of legal documents, Keach Hagey reveals the story behind the rise and fall of this remarkable figure, and the details of the family members fighting for control of his vast empire. At the heart of all the dueling lawsuits running through the Redstone family is Sumner Redstone’s tumultuous love life - particularly the fallout from his 2002 divorce from Phyllis, his wife of 52 years. More recently, Redstone’s life has become a tabloid soap opera thanks a lawsuit brought by one of his ex-girlfriends, Manuela Herzer. If the judge finds him incompetent, it will greatly increase the pressure on his trustees to begin the process of placing his controlling stakes in the hands of a seven-person trust who are expected to duke it out over what will become of the companies.

Yet the appetite for Redstone’s assets is not what it would have been just a few years ago. While CBS - bolstered by its sports rights and the programming prowess of its former actor CEO, Les Moonves - has experienced modest declines in the age of cord-cutting, Viacom’s fall has been dizzying. Ratings at its biggest cable networks, which include MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, BET, and Vstrong, have been falling double-digit percentages for years.

©2018 Keach Hagey (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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Great Reade. Anyone who has worked at a Film Theatre or Media Congomerate.

Most interesting facts I do not know what the backstory is father and how he had created the national news from the top of the games and drive him in my class was a great read and insight into

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Disappointing

This book was a let down for a # of rewsons; overall it came up short from end to end.

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a story that highlights how arrogance blinds

It's an interesting book, that follows the rise of power of a whole family and the centralizing force of a patriarch. His arrogance seems to mask his insecurity. It appears that he wanted to prove his worth constantly. I would speculate that he sought his father's approval in some strange way. his arrogance is why Viacom may have missed the social media boat. it allowed underlyings to jockey for personal power and not be held truly accountable.