Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) announced today that Pierluigi Gazzolo, President of VIMN Americas and Executive Vice President of Nickelodeon International, has been appointed President of OTT International and Viacom International Studios (VIS), signalling the increasing importance of VIMN’s OTT and Studio businesses. Gazzolo will report to David Lynn, President & CEO of VIMN.
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David Lynn, President and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks, will oversee the ViacomCBS's international media networks, including Network 10 in Australia (Photo: Business Wire)
In this role, Gazzolo will initially 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 premium 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. This new structure will enable the company to accelerate the creation of original content across international markets, consistent with the ViacomCBS mission of becoming one of the world’s pre-eminent content companies.
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 closely with Marc DeBevoise, Chief Digital Officer for ViacomCBS and President and Chief Executive Officer 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 UK, Europe and Asia in 2019. In 2019 VIS Americas revenues grew by 57%.
David Lynn commented: “Pier is a uniquely dynamic executive and has an unrivalled track record of growing revenues for the entire VIMN ecosystem. Pier’s vision and leadership in acquiring and integrating both Telefe and Porta dos Fundos for the Americas business was a step-change for Viacom in the region and enabled the creation of a studio business, not just for the Americas, but for all of Viacom International. Additionally, 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.”
Pierluigi Gazzolo added: “With ViacomCBS’ position as one the world’s most important content creators and distributors, it’s an extraordinary moment to help drive the expansion of both Pluto TV and OTT internationally, which is the fastest growing part of the video business; and at the same time, create a unified international studio for Viacom – when the demand for content has never been greater.”
VIMN Americas Leadership
Juan (“JC”) Acosta, currently Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer of VIMN Americas, will be promoted to President of VIMN Americas, effective January 3rd, 2020. Acosta will report to David Lynn, President & CEO of VIMN.
Lynn commented: “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. 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.”
JC Acosta commented: “I couldn’t be more excited to take on this role. It’s been my privilege to partner with Pier during such a transformational period for our business. The VIMN Americas team is expert in driving value through its ability to adapt to the ever-changing media landscape through innovation, content entrepreneurship, and passion. I look forward to continuing to work with them and our partners as we create and distribute winning content, products and experiences for the region.”
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).
As Chief Operating Officer of the Americas cluster since 2015, JC has been responsible for the region’s brand portfolio and monetization across all platforms and lines of business throughout Latin America, US Hispanic and Canada. As well as overseeing strategic service areas such as Finance, Strategy & Operations, Production/Studios, Research and Emerging Business.
JC has been with VIMN for 13 years, having first joined the company in 2007 as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer 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.
About Pierluigi Gazzolo
In addition to his role as President of VIMN Americas, Gazzolo is also the Nickelodeon brand lead for all markets outside of the U.S., with its centralized Programming, Marketing, Creative, Consumer Products and International Program Sales teams reporting into him.
Prior to his current role as President of VIMN Americas, Gazzolo was Chief Operating Officer of Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) from 2011 - 2014, during which time he reported to Robert Bakish. Gazzolo was appointed COO of VIMN following his tenure as COO for MTV Networks International (MTVNI) - commencing in 2009 - for which he established a new level of integrated operations. During that time, he was instrumental in developing a global content-based partnership with Rainbow Group. Subsequent to this partnership, Viacom Inc. acquired a minority interest in Rainbow Group, of which Gazzolo is a board member.
From 2009-2011, Gazzolo was President of MTV Networks Latin America (MTVNLA). Under his leadership, MTVNLA saw double-digit growth year on year as a result of operational and creative excellence, driven by more original productions and the expansion of the company’s linear and digital offerings. He re-invented the traditional telenovela format starting with Nickelodeon’s hugely successful series Isa TKM, Isa TK+, as well as three seasons of the highly successful Grachi, which later led to the English-language adaptation, Every Witch Way for Nickelodeon US.
Gazzolo holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Florida International University, where he was honoured as Alumni of the Year in 2011. Born in Italy and raised in El Salvador, Gazzolo speaks English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese fluently.
About Juan Acosta
As Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for VIMN Americas, Acosta oversees VIMN’s extensive portfolio of brands including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and Paramount Channel in Latin America and Canada, Telefe in Argentina, Porta dos Fundos in Brazil, and Tr3s in the U.S. Hispanic market.
He also has financial oversight of the entire VIMN Americas organization and oversees the company’s Revenue Strategy, Multiplatform Strategy and Business Development divisions, as well as the Viacom International Studios Americas, which is charged with the development, production and global distribution of the company’s combined portfolio of content.
Previously, Acosta was SVP, CFO and Executive-in-Charge of production, playing a key role in structuring multi-layered production deals and financials to include executing co-production agreements, negotiating distribution rights, integrating pro-social media partners, driving non-linear partnerships, and leveraging fiscal tax incentives. Acosta was instrumental in establishing the company’s co-production model utilizing investments from non-linear partners, distributors, NGOs and government ministries in key markets.
With expertise in studio/production, distribution, consumer products, program sales, Acosta was formerly Director of Finance for NBC Universal/Telemundo Network Group, where he was responsible for the financial reporting, budgeting/forecasting, and compliance for Telemundo Studios and its corporate entities. He also previously held positions at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and the Walt Disney Company.
A native of Miami, Acosta is a Certified Public Accountant for the State of Florida and holds a Bachelor of Accounting Degree and a MBA from Florida International University.
About Viacom International Media Networks
Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), a division of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), is comprised of many of the world’s most popular multimedia entertainment brands, including Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Paramount Channel, alongside a number of key local brands including Channel 5 (UK) and Telefe (Argentina). Viacom brands reach more than 4.3 billion cumulative subscribers in 180+ countries via nearly 300 locally programmed and operated TV channels and a range of digital media and mobile TV properties, in more than 40 languages. For more information about Viacom visit www.viacom.com.
Important Information About the Pending Merger Between CBS and Viacom and Where To Find It
In connection with the pending merger between CBS Corporation (“CBS”) and Viacom Inc. (“Viacom”), CBS has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) a Registration Statement on Form S-4 (No. 333‑234238) (the “Registration Statement”) that includes a joint consent solicitation statement of CBS and Viacom and that also constitutes a prospectus of CBS (the “joint consent solicitation statement / prospectus”). The Registration Statement was declared effective by the SEC on October 25, 2019. Viacom and CBS commenced mailing the definitive joint consent solicitation statement / prospectus to Viacom stockholders and CBS stockholders on or about October 28, 2019. This communication is not a substitute for the joint consent solicitation statement / prospectus or Registration Statement or any other document which CBS or Viacom may file with the SEC. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS OF CBS AND VIACOM ARE URGED TO READ THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT, WHICH INCLUDES THE JOINT CONSENT SOLICITATION STATEMENT / PROSPECTUS, AND ANY OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS THAT ARE FILED OR WILL BE FILED WITH THE SEC, AS WELL AS ANY AMENDMENTS OR SUPPLEMENTS TO THESE DOCUMENTS, CAREFULLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN OR WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PENDING MERGER AND RELATED MATTERS. Investors and security holders may obtain free copies of the Registration Statement, which includes the joint consent solicitation statement / prospectus, and other documents filed with the SEC by CBS and Viacom through the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov or by contacting the investor relations department of CBS (+1-212-975-4321 or +1-877-227-0787; investorrelations@CBS.com) or Viacom (+1-212-846-6700 or +1-800-516-4399; investor.relations@Viacom.com).
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