EXCLUSIVE: Paramount is restructuring its streaming operations.
Deadline understands that the company is combining its product and tech teams leading to the departure of Rob Gelick, who was Chief Product Officer and “played a critical role” of the company’s streaming services.
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Insiders indicated a few others, mostly junior staffers, are exiting along with Gelick.
As part of the shift, Vibol Hou, CTO of Paramount Streaming, is expanding his role to oversee a combined group of product, program, engineering and operations teams working on Paramount+ and Pluto TV. Hou was previously CTO of Pluto before it was acquired by Viacom (now part of Paramount) in 2019.
The reorg comes after Showtime was blended with Paramount+ in a single streaming outlet. The broader corporate effort to streamline and organize multiple streaming units began to get more complex in 2019, when the Pluto acquisition happened and Viacom reunited with CBS. A wide-ranging portfolio of streaming outlets — including CBS All Access, Showtime, Pluto, BET+ and free services like CBSN and CBS Sports HQ were suddenly under the same roof but with divergent tech DNA and business objectives.
The reorg news was revealed in an internal email (see below) from Tom Ryan, President and CEO of Paramount Streaming. Ryan co-founded Pluto and stayed on after the Viacom acquisition, eventually being put in charge of all streaming for Paramount.
Gelick has been with the company for 15 years, joining as VP, Mobile in 2008 before rising up the ranks. Ryan said that he “spearheaded” the launch of CBS All Access, oversaw the rebrand and expansion of Paramount+, “expertly managed” the integration of Showtime into Paramount+ and the introduction of a new home screen on Pluto TV and “shepherded countless brand milestones for our division”.
Vibol, who has been with the company for around 10 years, will now “identify efficiencies”.
“I remain confident about the bright future of our streaming platforms and look forward to working with Vibol and the wider organization to make great things happen as we enter the next inning of streaming,” Ryan added.
Here is Ryan’s internal memo:
For the last two years as we worked to launch and scale Paramount+ around the world while continuing to grow the global Pluto TV business. Product and Tech operated as collaborative but separate units. As we look to the next chapter of Paramount Streaming and how we rapidly deliver a high-quality product experience to our customers and accelerate innovation, we must also evolve how we organize our teams.
Today, I am announcing that we are combining our Paramount Streaming Product and Tech teams into a single Streaming Tech organization. Vibol Hou, CTO of Streaming, will expand his role to oversee the combined group of product, program, engineering and operations teams responsible for innovating, building and operating our global flagship Paramount+ and Pluto TV products.
With this change, Rob Gelick is leaving the company. Rob has played a critical role in making our streaming platforms and experiences what they are today, and I want to thank him for his incredible contributions to our division. During his 15 years at the company, Rob has spearheaded the launch of CBS All Access and oversaw the rebrand and expansion of Paramount+. Rob has shepherded countless brand milestones for our division. Most recently, Rob and his team expertly managed the integration of Showtime into Paramount+ and the introduction of a new home screen on Pluto TV. Rob has been a trusted partner and friend, and I hope you will join me in wishing him great success in all his future endeavors.
Under Vibol’s direction, the newly merged teams will collaborate closely to identify efficiencies and drive forward new product features and technological innovations that will enhance our direct-to-consumer portfolio and solidify our position as an industry leader.
Thank you for continuing to be nimble and tenacious as we adapt to the industry’s changing tides. I remain confident about the bright future of our streaming platforms and look forward to working with Vibol and the wider organization to make great things happen as we enter the next inning of streaming.
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