ViacomCBS Names Naveen Chopra New CFO, Replacing Christina Spade

ViacomCBS July 1 announced that Naveen Chopra has been named the new CFO, effective Aug. 10, succeeding Christina Spade, who will transition into an advisory role after the media company’s second quarter earnings call.

Chopra joins ViacomCBS from Amazon, where he served as CFO of Amazon’s devices and services business (i.e. Alexa, Echo, Fire TV, Ring, Kindle and the Amazon Appstore). In his new role, Chopra will be responsible for ViacomCBS’s financial operations, including treasury, tax, accounting, investor relations, information security and real estate, as well as global corporate development and strategy. Chopra will report to Bob Bakish, President and CEO of ViacomCBS.

Naveen CHopra

Bakish said Chopra’s experience “scaling and driving” financial strategies for ViacomCBS’s growth businesses, including ad-supported and subscription streaming video, as well as with digital devices and services — would be instrumental going forward. Chopra held senior executive positions at Pandora and TiVo.

“Naveen is a talented leader who combines financial, strategic and operational expertise with hands-on experience growing innovative, consumer-focused businesses across the media and tech sector, Bakish said in a statement.

Christina Spade

Current CFO Spade departs after 20 years at Showtime Networks and CBS, and played a pivotal role in the integration of CBS and Viacom. In recent months she helped to lead ViacomCBS through the coronavirus pandemic, strengthening the company’s balance sheet to ensure it is well positioned to continue navigating the current economic environment.

Previously, she served for six years as CFO and strategy for Showtime Networks, where she stewarded the implementation of key financial operational and reporting systems and helped scale Showtime’s streaming platform at its launch in July 2015.

“I want to extend my deepest thanks to her for her leadership and counsel, and for helping to ensure a smooth transition,” Bakish said.

CBS CEO: Diversity of Distribution Driving Original Programming

With more than 8 million combined subscribers for CBS All Access and Showtime OTT expected by next year, CBS Corp. interim CEO Joe Ianniello says over-the-top video distribution is driving original content production.

“We put [content] originals on [All Access and Showtime OTT],” Ianniello said on the fiscal call — his first since replacing the ousted Les Moonves. “We saw it was working. We saw the consumers wanted more. So, we’re putting more on it. We’ve raised the [subscriber] targets. We’ve accelerated them. [And] we’re going internationally [Canada].”

CBS Studios currently produces four series for Netflix — “Insatiable,” “Dead to Me,” “American Vandal,” and “Unbelievable.” It also produces new drama, “Your Honor,” for Showtime, and psychological thrillers, “Tell Me a Story,” and “Why Women Kill,” for All Access.

As previously, reported CBS produces “Star Trek: Discovery” for All Access, and has 2018 Oscar winner Jordan Peele (Get Out) rebooting “The Twilight Zone.”

“An All Access subscriber watches twice as much content as [someone] who watches on CBS.com,” said Ianniello.

“We have nice diversity in terms of the consumption of the content. And that’s why we’re putting more originals on both of these services, because it’s really driving again the intent to subscribe and it’s reducing churn. And those are the two things we’re really toggling back and forth as we make these investments.”

CFO Christina Spade said OTT video is allowing Showtime to expand beyond its 26 million pay-TV households and reach consumers untethered to traditional cable bundle.

“The world of OTT has opened up so many options with what we can do with data analytics and really unlock and target our marketing,” said Spade. “So, two years into it, we have a lot of great uses of the data, but even as we get further educated and learn even more about our consumer, the scale of the business is huge.”