ViacomCBS hires Channel 4’s consumer & strategy chief Sarah Rose as COO

Sarah Rose

ViacomCBS Networks UK has hired one of the execs behind UK broadcaster Channel 4’s streaming service All4 as its COO, with a remit that includes working across Viacom International Studios (VIS) UK and its channels operation.

Sarah Rose was most recently chief consumer and strategy officer at the beleaguered public broadcaster, responsible for corporate strategy, consumer insight and data science. In total, she spent more than 14 years at C4, having joined in 2006 as head of VOD and channel development to oversee the launch of All4 (then known as 4oD).

Prior to that, Rose worked at UK commercial broadcaster ITV where she became general manager of ITV Digital, charged with responsibility for digital channels ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4.

ViacomCBS remit & latest rejig

At ViacomCBS Networks UK, she will have oversight of all UK business functions including operations, legal and business affairs, finance, HR, communications, research, broadcasting technology and VIS UK.

Rose will work alongside director of programmes, Ben Frow and chief commercial officer, Arran Tindall, and play “an important role” in strategic planning across ViacomCBS’ UK channel portfolio, which includes free-to-air network Channel 5 and pay TV brands MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.

Her arrival is the latest management change at ViacomCBS, which has been extensively restructuring following the merger of Viacom and CBS late last year.

A slew of senior execs have already departed at ViacomCBS’s US operations, with Smithsonian Channel’s president Tom Hayden among those leaving, while the company has also restructured much of its international business, which included breaking its ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) group into two brand divisions and three pan-regional management hubs.

Other UK-based departures included the exit of Jill Offman, the former Comedy Central exec who was most recently EVP of VIS UK, a role she took up earlier this year as part of an earlier restructure and following the arrival of Maria Kyriacou as president of ViacomCBS Networks UK & Australia.

ViacomCBS’s digital drive

Rose’s appointment comes as ViacomCBS looks to retain more rights to its programming as it prepares to roll out a new ‘house of brands’ streaming service in 2021.

The company initially announced plans to launch a large-scale streamer comparable to the likes of HBO Max and Netflix in February, but CEO Bob Bakish shed further light on the planned SVOD earlier this year, describing it as a “super service” that will be a relaunch of CBS All Access with 15,000 hours of new Viacom and CBS programming in addition to CBS All Access’ existing 15,000 hours.

Of Rose’s appointment, Kyriacou said: “Sarah has a wealth of expertise in broadcast media and proven experience in successfully driving companies forward.

“This is a key role in our UK senior leadership team, overseeing the entirety of our operations and ensuring that we function at optimum efficiency. I’m delighted to welcome her on board at what is an exciting time for the business, as we continue to evolve our offering in a fast-moving media landscape.”

Rose added: “I have loved my time at Channel 4 from the first minute to the last, but am ready for a new challenge and I am so excited to have the opportunity to join a business of ViacomCBS’ international stature, and to help steer the growth of its iconic channel and digital brands in the UK.”

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