Putting the board of directors drama aside, Viacom must find a way to generate the kind of must-see content that viewers flock to on other media properties, said major Viacom shareholder and famed value investor Mario Gabelli.
"We've solved the problem short term with Dish. That was a major hurdle," Gablelli said — citing the April agreement between Viacom and Dish Network on a new carriage agreement.
"The next one is get some financing [and] get some content back into Paramount ... in TV series and digital distribution," Gabelli said. Viacom owns content creator and distributor Paramount as well as television networks including MTV, Nickelodeon, BET and Spike.
The key question at Viacom, according to Gabelli, is "how do you create series for over-the-top" — a term referring to services that deliver content directly to consumers who don't have cable TV or satellite subscriptions.
"They've got good resources. The question is growth. The question is valuation. And that's what the market will and should focus on," said Gabelli.
"You can create [product] at Viacom. Look at 'The Walking Dead,' 'Mad Men,' 'Breaking Bad,' [AMC Networks CEO] Josh Sapan is the creator of that," he said — contending Viacom needs that kind of vision.
Refusing to answer questions about whether Viacom Chairman and CEO Philippe Dauman can provide that kind of leadership, Gabelli said the decision remains with 93-year-old Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari Redstone, who control the media giant.
In the latest twist in the protracted boardroom brawl at Viacom, directors were bracing for the possibility that they could be replaced as soon as Friday, sources told CNBC.