FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--Mar. 24--Viacom is considering starting a Blockbuster Entertainment-Paramount-MTV music label, Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone said on Thursday in Fort Lauderdale.
``It's a business that makes a lot of money,'' said Redstone, chairman of the Manhattan-based company. Redstone was speaking during a break in Viacom's board of directors meeting, which was being held here for the first time since Viacom bought Blockbuster in September.
Redstone and President Frank Biondi Jr. were discussing how Blockbuster fits into Viacom's plans to become what Wired magazine called ``the first 21st-century media company.''
Redstone and Biondi appear on the cover of the April issue of Wired as MTV's no-goodniks, Beavis and Butt-head. The executives said they got a kick out of the cover, which features Redstone playing air guitar and Biondi giving a rock 'n' roll salute.
The music label would be a natural to couple MTV's contacts in the music industry with Blockbuster Music's retail outlets, Redstone said. The company expects to decide soon whether to go ahead with such a label.
Viacom also expects to decide soon whether it will launch a chain of Paramount stores, entertainment-themed stores such as the successful Disney Store or Warner Brothers chains. The stores would sell merchandise from such Viacom properties as Star Trek, Forrest Gump, MTV and Nickelodeon.
Redstone and Biondi said that Viacom will let others decide what technology makes up the ``information superhighway,'' or the flow of information that's expected to be coming electronically to your home in a few years, by computer, telephone or TV.
It's too expensive trying to figure out which technology will win out, said Biondi, citing Time-Warner's experiment with interactive television in Orlando.
While the marketplace decides, Blockbuster will continue selling videos, and Viacom - the movie, CD-ROM, book publishing and video game company - will provide the content, Redstone said.
When consumers decide which technology will dominate, Blockbuster will sell it or rent it, Biondi said.
``I think the next thing's going to be CD-ROM,'' he said. ``You're now getting a critical mass.'' END!K&7?FL-VIACOM
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