ViacomCBS has restructured its streaming operations with a global lens: Tom Ryan, currently CEO of Pluto TV, will assume the role of president and CEO of the newly created ViacomCBS Streaming, overseeing CBS All Access, which will relaunch as Paramount Plus in early 2021, as well as Pluto TV.
Marc DeBevoise will step down from his roles as ViacomCBS’s chief digital officer and president-CEO of ViacomCBS Digital. DeBevoise will serve in an advisory capacity through the end of 2020.
The changes are effective immediately. The media conglomerate said the integrated structure will “ensure a more holistic approach across both free and pay streaming,” as well as more closely align the company’s streaming initiatives globally and enhance its ability to “leverage the cross-house franchise and content strength of ViacomCBS to seize the global opportunity in streaming.”
The ViacomCBS reshuffling comes after Disney, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia have similarly moved to restructure their organizations with the aim of accelerating direct-to-consumer streaming strategies.
ViacomCBS also announced that Pierluigi Gazzolo will step down from his position as president, streaming and studios, at ViacomCBS Networks International “to pursue other interests.”
Kelly Day, VCNI’s COO, will assume an expanded role as president of streaming for VCNI, overseeing all non-U.S. digital and streaming platforms. She will work with Ryan and David Lynn, president and CEO of VCNI, on ViacomCBS’s international streaming expansion, including on the planned rollout of Paramount Plus in Australia, Latin America and the Nordics in 2021, as well as the ongoing international rollout of Pluto TV.
In addition, JC Acosta, who oversees VCNI’s operations in Latin America and Canada as president, VCN Americas, is assuming additional responsibility as president of ViacomCBS International Studios. Acosta reports to Lynn.
“ViacomCBS has a unique opportunity to combine the best of our brands in a seamless ecosystem of must-watch, direct-to-consumer services for audiences around the world,” Bob Bakish, president and CEO of ViacomCBS, said in announcing the changes. “As we plan for the launch of Paramount Plus, 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.”
As president and CEO of ViacomCBS Streaming, Ryan will lead the company’s streaming businesses worldwide. He will now also oversee the rebranding of CBS All Access into Paramount Plus, working in concert with the ViacomCBS Content Council to develop a franchise-driven content strategy across the company’s streaming platforms.
The restructuring, according to the company, formally makes ViacomCBS’s studios “multiplatform content providers.”
With DeBevoise’s departure, the CBS Interactive group is being dissolved. Last month, ViacomCBS inked a deal to sell CNET Media Group — which has been a major component of the CBSi business — for $500 million to Red Ventures. According to a source familiar with the company, ViacomCBS CTO Phil Wiser, who previously reported to DeBevoise, will now report to CFO Naveen Chopra, who joined the company this summer from Amazon where he served as CFO of Amazon’s devices and services business.
Ryan in 2013 co-founded Pluto TV, which offers free-to-watch, ad-supported live video channels and on-demand content. Viacom, prior to its merger with CBS, bought Pluto TV in 2019 for $340 million. Under Ryan’s leadership, Pluto TV has grown to reach 33 million monthly active users globally. Earlier in his career, Ryan was CEO of Threadless, an online art community and e-commerce company, from 2008-12. Previously he was a senior exec at EMI Music and was part of the early team at Virgin Mobile USA. He also co-founded Cductive, an online music service that merged with eMusic in 1999.
Day has served as COO of VCNI since March 2020. Prior to that, she was president of Viacom Digital Studios (VDS) since November 2017, after serving as chief business officer and chief digital officer of youth-skewing digital media company Awesomeness (which Viacom ended up buying in mid-2018).
DeBevoise joined CBS Interactive (now part of ViacomCBS Digital) in 2011, and has led its portfolio of digital properties as president/COO in 2016. He led the development and launch of the CBS All Access subscription service (soon to be Paramount Plus), as well as free-streaming services CBSN, CBS Sports HQ and ET Live.
Gazzolo, prior to serving as VCNI’s president of streaming and studios, was president of VCN Americas where he oversaw the expansion of the company’s operations across Latin America and Canada and also led Nickelodeon internationally. With ViacomCBS in its various iterations over the course of his 28 years with the company, Gazzolo also served as COO under Bakish from 2009-14 in what was first MTV Networks International and then Viacom International Media Networks.