ViacomCBS restructures AVOD & SVOD operations across EMEA, names chief

Olivier Jollet

ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) has restructured its AVOD and SVOD operations into a new division and appointed Olivier Jollet – previously MD of Europe for Pluto TV – to head it up.

Jollett, who joined ad-supported streamer Pluto TV in 2016 prior to its $340m acquisition by Viacom last year, becomes SVP of emerging business for ViacomCBS Networks (VCN) across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia (EMEAA).

He will now oversee a business unit that includes ViacomCBS’s entire digital portfolio in the region, including AVOD and SVOD operations, plus mobile services and products, and advertising.


‘Aggressive digital phase’

ViacomCBS said the new division’s creation forms part of an “aggressive phase of digital transformation” for the company in EMEAA, where it is led by president Raffaele Annecchino.

The new “dedicated unit” is designed to accelerate ViacomCBS’s digital business and capture new opportunities focused on the pay and free streaming sector, while also incorporating the firm’s mobile business and and ViacomCBS Digital Studios International. Jollet will be responsible for developing and expanding the digital business across these markets and reports directly into Annecchino.

Jollet most recently headed up Pluto TV’s European operations and before that worked at Watchever and Universal Music. He co-founded Quazer, a digital TV-like service and served as MD until it was acquired by Pluto TV in October 2016. The exec, who works with Pluto TV CEO and co-founder Tom Ryan, will continue in his position as MD of Europe at Pluto TV in addition to his new role.

Annecchino said: “Olivier’s digital expertise and entrepreneurial approach are essential to driving growth in these critical areas of the business. With digital initiatives in the region managed by Jollet, we will be ideally positioned to expand our integrated digital ecosystem while offering audiences the best of our brands, products, content and platforms.”

Jollett added: “It’s an honor to be appointed to this strategic role at such a critical moment for the company’s digital expansion. I thoroughly look forward to growing scale and reach in these business areas and furthering the company’s digital transformation.”

Bob Bakish

Rejig ahead of ‘super service’

The restructure comes as ViacomCBS gears up for the launch of its expanded international on-demand offering, which is set to launch early next year and has been dubbed as a ‘super service’ streamer by the media giant.

Teased for months by the recently merged ViacomCBS, the company recently used its quarterly earnings call to shine a light on the “broad pay” CBS All Access product, which will offer content from CBS, MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, its Paramount film studio, Showtime and existing SVOD CBS All Access.

ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish said the service would launch early 2021 in “high-value territories” including Australia, Latin America and the Nordics.

The company also said that the new CBS All Access product will be designed to complement its AVOD service Pluto TV and that they will “move in parallel”. Pluto, Bakish said, “is really cranking” with the free-to-view AVOD registering 33 monthly active users by the end of the quarter, with 26.5 million of those coming from the US.

Jollett’s appointment comes amid major changes across the media landscape, as US-based giants reconfigure their operations to focus on streaming. ViacomCBS reportedly cut 400 roles across its entertainment, production and channels operations earlier this summer and has also made a slew of changes to it senior management ranks at networks including MTV, Pop, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and Smithsonian, with the latter’s president Tom Hayden among those departing.

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