ViacomCBS is in the process of pivoting hard to streaming, and a new executive shakeup ahead of the company’s big relaunch of CBS All Access as Paramount Plus shows just how committed the company’s executive leadership is to that transition.
The biggest change comes in the form of Tom Ryan — head of Pluto TV, ViacomCBS’s successful free ad-supported streaming service — being promoted to CEO of ViacomCBS Streaming. Ryan’s promotion comes alongside the announcement that Marc DeBevoise — who headed up streaming and digital products for ViacomCBS since 2016 and oversaw the launch of CBS All Access and free streaming initiatives like CBSN, CBS Sports HQ, and ET Live — is stepping down. DeBevoise will act as an adviser to Ryan for the remainder of the year.
Alongside Ryan, the company announced that Kelly Day will become president of streaming for ViacomCBS Networks International and will oversee all digital and streaming platforms outside of the United States. ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish specifically noted their appointments being announced just ahead of CBS All Access’ big rebrand into Paramount Plus, adding that creating a “unified global organization” will hopefully help it compete in the streaming space.
This marks the second executive shuffle at the company in less than a year. When Viacom and CBS merged last year, DeBevoise was given additional duties, overseeing digital and streaming products for both companies. Now, as ViacomCBS is beginning to find its footing as a combined company and as streaming becomes even more of a priority, the company is going through another round of shakeups to try to remain competitive.
(Disclosure: The Verge is currently producing a series with Netflix. Also, Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, is an investor in Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.)
News of ViacomCBS’s corporate changes also arrives just one week after Disney publicly announced its own major reorganization based around its streaming services. Like ViacomCBS, Disney wanted a more unified organization that will put extra emphasis on developing content for its streaming services, specifically Disney Plus. Other competitors in the space, including Netflix, WarnerMedia, and NBCUniversal, are currently undergoing or have undergone their own executive shakeups.
While each company has made its commitment to streaming widely known, the public reorganizations come at a time when the shift to digital is accelerating and more viewers are spending time streaming than ever before. As companies head into 2021 with relatively new streaming services now under their belts, figuring out the best way to ensure those platforms can compete — not just exist — with giants like Amazon and Netflix is the next goal.
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