Add ViacomCBS to the list of media companies shaking up their streaming operations.
ViacomCBS has elevated PlutoTV CEO Tom Ryan to head up all of of its free and paid streaming services as president and CEO of ViacomCBS Streaming, while Marc DeBevoise, who had been the company’s digital officer, is leaving, as part of the overhaul.
The expanded role gives Ryan, who co-founded the free streamer that Viacom acquired in January 2019, purview of CBS All Access, which is several months away from an overhaul and rebrand to Paramount+, including programming strategy, platform development and marketing strategy. Ryan will have global oversight of the company’s streaming strategy, which also includes Pluto’s expanding free footprint, and several niche services, including BET+ and Noggin, and is tasked with partnering with the ViacomCBS Content Council to work on a franchise-driven programming strategy that will live across the company’s streamers.
On the international side, Kelly Day, the chief operating officer of ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) and a former executive of ViacomCBS-owned Awesomeness, is also taking on an expanded role as president of streaming at VCNI. In her new role, Day will oversee all non-U.S. digital and streaming platforms, and will work with Ryan and with VCNI president and CEO David Lynn on planned international expansion of the rebranded Paramount+.
“As we plan for the launch of Paramount+, bringing together the leaders of our streaming platforms to create a unified global organization will enable us to execute a holistic strategy across both free and pay,” ViacomCBS president and CEO Bob Bakish said in a statement. “We will draw on the breadth and depth of ViacomCBS’s franchises and branded IP to deliver an extraordinary collection of diverse content with the convenience consumers want.”
As part of the move, DeBevoise, who had been overseeing CBS All Access, CBSN and CBS Sports HQ, and was also serving as chief digital officer of ViacomCBS, will exit the company by the end of the year. He will serve in an advisory role until his exit, the company said.
Pierluigi Gazzolo, the current president of streaming and studios at VCNI who helped oversee the global expansion of Pluto TV into international markets, is also stepping down from his position at the end of this month; his exit had been previously announced.
Last year, Adweek featured both Ryan and ViacomCBS on its cover for a story about the rise in popularity of free, ad-supported streaming platforms like Pluto; now the two execs will be working side-by-side overseeing the company’s streaming strategy.
The move, and DeBevoise’s departure, come less than a year after a previous restructuring that elevated the now-departing DeBevoise to CEO of CBS Interactive. DeBevoise, a longtime CBS executive, helped shepherd CBS All Access from a burgeoning service with reruns of broadcast programming in 2014 to a bigger player in streaming with several well-received original programs, including several Star Trek series, The Good Wife spinoff The Good Fight and a reboot of The Twilight Zone.
It’s also the latest in a string of restructures at traditional media companies looking to reposition and streamline their operations to focus on streaming. Earlier this year, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia underwent considerable shake-ups in efforts to better align with their streaming and content operations, and just last week, Disney reorganized its media and entertainment businesses.
The restructure comes as ViacomCBS, like other media companies, faces the daunting task of figuring out a fast-growing and complex streaming ecosystem that is becoming saturated. The company has previously outlined that it plans to approach streaming from several angles, building out a free ad-supported tier with Pluto TV that can serve both as an ad revenue generator and a consumer pipeline into paid services. The company also continues to license its programming to other streamers.