CBS All Access, the standalone subscription streaming service from ViacomCBS, reportedly saw record subscriber growth in January, thanks to high-profile showcases, including the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards and the premiere of “Star Trek: Picard.”
The Jan. 26 Grammys telecast included a promotion that offered a free month of service to new subscribers.
“The new [sub] records we’ve experienced due to ‘Star Trek: Picard,’ the Grammys and a fantastic season of football are a phenomenal way to kick off what will be a fantastic year for CBS All Access,” Marc DeBevoise, chief digital officer, ViacomCBS, and president and CEO, CBS Interactive, said in a statement.
CBS did not disclose actual subscriber numbers. Indeed, CBS revealed that 18.7 million viewers watched the telecast, which was down 6% from 19.9 million last year.
All Access, similar to Amazon Prime Video, is not afraid to stream live sports, including NFL broadcasts and playoff games. In the most-recent fiscal call, acting CEO Joe Ianniello said All Access and Showtime OTT had a combined 10 million subscribers.
CBS said The Grammys increased All Access sign-ups 80% from the same time last year, while dedicated viewership increased 30%.
The media company said the new original “Star Trek” series starring Patrick Stewart bumped up overall streaming (which includes Amazon Prime Channels) 115%, in addition to 180% spike on All Access — the highest streaming increases since the last original Star Trek series, ” Star Trek: Discovery.”
“All Access continues to build upon its great mix of programming — from original series, to sports and special events — and we’ve strategically programmed 2020 to bring subscribers an ‘always on’ calendar of must-watch series and events,” DeBevoise said.
Viacom International Media Networks has promoted Pierluigi Gazzolo, president of VIMN Americas and EVP of Nickelodeon International, to president of OTT International and Viacom International Studios (VIS).
The move signals Viacom’s increasing importance of over-the-top video distribution and studio businesses worldwide. Gazzolo reports to David Lynn, president & CEO of VIMN.
In this new role, Gazzolo will focus on accelerating the rollout of Pluto TV across international markets, starting with a major launch across Latin America in early 2020.
In addition, Gazzolo will further establish VIMN’s D2C products in partnership with distributors. He will also be responsible for creating an integrated Viacom International Studios operation, managing original content creation assets across ViacomCBS internationally.
Gazzolo will be responsible for establishing Viacom’s international business strategies, product offerings and operations for these critical growth areas of the business in all international markets.
He will work with Marc DeBevoise, chief digital officer for ViacomCBS and CEO of CBS Interactive and Tom Ryan, CEO and Co-founder of Pluto TV to expand the company’s digital strategy to the international market.
As president of VIMN Americas, Gazzolo is credited for driving the extraordinary growth of VIMN’s business in the region and was responsible for the expansion of the business through the acquisition of Telefe and Porta dos Fundos. During his tenure, Gazzolo led the transformation of VIMN Americas, including establishing its non-linear presence through innovative multiplatform products and services such as Paramount + and Noggin and working with the Pluto TV team to launch 11 Pluto Latino channels to the US Hispanic market earlier this year – which has since grown to 22 channels and 4,000 hours of Spanish and Portuguese content.
Under Gazzolo’ s leadership, Viacom International Studios (VIS) was launched following the 2016 acquisitions of Telefe and then Porta dos Fundos. Synergies recognized by those acquisitions enabled the launch of VIS first in the Americas in 2018 and then in the U.K., Europe and Asia in 2019. In 2019 VIS Americas revenues grew by 57%.
“Pier is a uniquely dynamic executive and has an unrivalled track record of growing revenues for the entire VIMN ecosystem,” Lynn said in a statement. “Pier’s leadership in the streaming and OTT space has driven subscriber growth and established VIMN as a key player in OTT in the region partnering with MVPD’s and mobile operators. I’m confident that Pier will apply the same vision and rigor to launching these key business lines for ViacomCBS internationally as we continue to super serve our distribution partners.”
Separately, Juan (“JC”) Acosta, currently EVP, and COO of VIMN Americas, will be promoted to president of VIMN Americas, effective Jan. 3rd, 2020.
“JC’s understanding of the entertainment industry, strategic expertise and deep knowledge of both VIMN and the international television market make him ideally suited for his new role,” Lynn said. “JC’s tenure with VIMN and impact on the business to date, will ensure both a seamless leadership transition and a continued growth trajectory for our Americas operations. JC played a key role in the transformation of the VIMN Americas business, integrating and managing Telefe and Porta dos Fundos, and is ideally equipped to take VIMN Americas through its next stage of growth.”
In his new role, Acosta will be responsible for VIMN operations for Latin America, spanning Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, as well as Canada and the US Hispanic market. He will be tasked with the ongoing expansion of VIMN’s portfolio and products in the region, including its multiplatform business, global studio and content distribution and licensing efforts and TV channels (MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Paramount Channel, and Telefe, Argentina’s leading free-to-air broadcaster) and digital portfolio (including Porta Dos Fundos).
JC has been with VIMN for 13 years, having first joined the company in 2007 as VP and CFO of VIMN Americas. Since that time, Acosta has served in a variety of roles leading to his current role as EVP Chief Financial Officer & Executive in Charge of Production. Acosta has worked across a range of areas of the VIMN Americas business and was a key partner to Gazzolo, as COO of the America business as they designed and implemented the integration of Telefe and Porta dos Fundos.