Tom Ryan raised, Marc DeBevoise stop the ViacomCBS streaming shakeup


Add ViacomCBS to the list of media companies messing up their streaming operations.

ViacomCBS has named PlutoTV CEO Tom Ryan as President and CEO of ViacomCBS Streaming to manage all free and paid streaming services, while Marc DeBevoise, who was previously 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, responsibility for CBS All Access, which is several months away from being overhauled and renamed Paramount +, including programming strategy, platform development and marketing strategy. Ryan will have global control of the company's streaming strategy, which includes Pluto's growing free presence and several niche services including BET + and Noggin, and will partner with the ViacomCBS Content Council to work on a franchise-driven programming strategy that makes this possible live on the company's streamers.

Internationally, Kelly Day, Chief Operating Officer of ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) and former General Manager of ViacomCBS-Awesomeness, will assume an expanded role as President of Streaming at VCNI. In her new role, Day will oversee all digital and streaming platforms outside the US and work with Ryan and VCNI President and CEO David Lynn on the planned international expansion of the renamed Paramount +.

"If we plan to roll out Paramount + and bring together those responsible for our streaming platforms to create a unified global organization, we can implement a holistic strategy, both free and paid," said Bob Bakish, President and CEO of ViacomCBS, in an explanation. "We will leverage the breadth and depth of ViacomCBS's franchises and branded IP to deliver an exceptional collection of diverse content with the convenience consumers desire."

As part of the move, DeBevoise, who oversaw CBS All Access, CBSN and CBS Sports HQ and also served as ViacomCBS’s chief digital officer, will leave the company by the end of the year. The company announced that he would be active in an advisory capacity until he left the company.

Pierluigi Gazzolo, the current President, Streaming and Studios at VCNI, who has overseen Pluto TV's global expansion into international markets, is also stepping down from his position later this month. His departure had already been announced.

Last year, Adweek featured both Ryan and ViacomCBS on its cover for a story about the surge in popularity of free, ad-supported streaming platforms like Pluto. Now the two executives will work side by side to oversee the company's streaming strategy.

DeBevoise's move and resignation come less than a year after an earlier reorganization that appointed DeBevoise, now retiring, as CEO of CBS Interactive. DeBevoise, a longtime CBS executive, helped CBS All Access go from a burgeoning service of broadcast reruns to a larger player in streaming with several well-received original programs, including several Star Trek series, The Good Wife spinoff and The Good Fight a restart of The Twilight Zone.

It's also the latest in a series of reorganizations at traditional media companies looking to reposition and streamline their operations to focus on streaming. Earlier this year, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia made significant efforts to better adjust their streaming and content operations, and just last week Disney reorganized its media and entertainment business.

The restructuring comes as ViacomCBS, like other media companies, is faced with the daunting task of finding a rapidly growing and complex streaming ecosystem that is becoming saturated. The company has previously stated that it intends to look at streaming from different angles and build a free ad-supported layer with Pluto TV that can serve as both an ad revenue generator and a consumer pipeline for paid services. The company continues to license its programs to other streamers.

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Jeffrey Rabinowitz