Viacom Wins Eight Cynopsis Social Good Awards, Including Impact Honors for Its LISTEN Addiction Initiative

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Anchored by its stigma-crushing LISTEN addiction initiative, Viacom brands underscored the companywide commitment to social responsibility by earning seven honors at the Cynopsis Social Good Awards ceremony in New York City this morning.

LISTEN, which earned the Impact Campaign distinction, is a multi-dimensional campaign grounded in the belief that compassion and awareness are central elements to fighting the scourge of addiction. A partnership with Facing Addiction, LISTEN unites addiction-fighting resources with transformational video stories of individuals who have fought from nearly hopeless circumstances to become inspirations for those still struggling to find sobriety.

This video is just one in a series posted on heretolisten.com. A LISTEN special that aired across 11 Viacom networks has been viewed more than 2 million times and drove 38.1 million social impressions and more than 56,000 engagements across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Debi Mazar, one of the stars of TV Land’s hit Younger, appeared alongside Niels Schuurmans, executive vice president of Viacom Velocity, to accept the award on the company’s behalf.

“I am so proud to see Viacom mobilize the voice and reach of its channels to take action in breaking down the shame and stigma around addiction and address it for what it is – a health issue,” Mazar said. “Media has the power to change hearts and minds. And LISTEN is doing that one story and conversation at a time.”

LISTEN also took top honors in the Branded Campaign for a TV Series or Special Programming category.

Logo earned a pair of honors. The network’s stirring Trailblazer Honors ceremony served as a tribute to victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre and took the Philanthropic/Human Rights Campaign category, while its Fill in the Blank push around Pride Month earned best Branded Campaign for a Digital or Mobile Platform.

BET Networks also took two categories. Its HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) Snapchat tour earned best Digital Media Campaign:


While the network’s understated Vote Your Voice spots earned top Hash Tag Promotion:

Viacom International Media Networks earned the last two honor, in the Public Service Announcement and Best Spot (30 Seconds or Less) categories, both for Nickelodeon’s Together for Good collaboration with UNICEF, which works to protect disadvantaged children around the world.

In addition to the Impact Award, Viacom received 44 total nominations across 21 categories and an impressive array of brands, including Nick Jr., Spike, Viacom International Media Networks, MTV, VH1, and our Viacom Velocity in-house agency.

Read More

Fences, Arrival Deliver Pair of Oscars to Paramount

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Paramount’s Arrival and Fences each won an Oscar last night, capping a torrid award season that firmly established the two films as among the best of 2016.

With a fiery speech that summoned the emotional resonance of the film she appeared in, Viola Davis accepted the prize for best supporting actress for her role in Fences.

“You know, there’s one place where all the people with the greatest potential are gathered,” Davis said in her acceptance speech. “One place. And that’s the graveyard. … So here’s to August Wilson who exhumed and exhalted the ordinary people.”

With the honor, Davis became the first black actor to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony award.

The accolades have been piling up for Fences in general and Davis in particular since awards season launched. Among Davis’ acknowledgements for best supporting actress have been honors from the African-American Film Critics Association, AARP Annual Movies for Grownups Awards and Critics’ Choice Movie Awards. The film’s director, Denzel Washington, has also earned several best actor awards for his performance in the film.

The haunting Arrival¸ a gorgeous sci-fi tale of aliens landing, earned top honors for Sound Editing. Sylvain Bellemare, a longtime collaborator with director Denis Villeneuve, led the team that created the film’s auditory component, an immense task given a story that spans civilizations, time periods, and settings from the pedestrian to the otherworldly.

Read More

Get Schooled Scores a Spot on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in Gaming List

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

The lighting-thumbed gamer diehards will nod in knowing agreement as they glance at Fast Company’s roll call of the 10 most innovative companies in gaming – streamer Twitch, gamemakers 2K and Activision Blizzard, founding father of modern gaming Nintendo. But the name at number nine might teach even the most seasoned gamer something brand new: Get Schooled, the non-profit organization whose primary mission is inspiring students to finish high school and succeed in college.

How exactly does an organization founded via a partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Viacom crash a who’s who of modern gaming giants? By adopting the fearless attitude and experimental dynamic of a Silicon Valley start-up driven to solve an complex problem.

“Get Schooled has a track record of success in part because we have adopted the principles of a high performing tech start up: we value partnerships, use data to continuously improve and have learned how to fail fast,” said Marie Groark, Executive Director of Get Schooled.

Those improvements have hinged upon a bold and vast adventure into gamification, a realm that many high school students know well and require no primer to engage with. The pivot began just two years after Get Schooled launched in 2010, transforming www.getschooled.com into an immersive gamified universe, where competition, point scoring and rules have engaged millions of young people, who can cash out their points for stuff like autographed gear from NBA and NFL stars, calculators or backpacks in a rewards store sponsored by the organization.

Students can also earn scholarships, or celebrity appearances by the likes of DJ Khaled, Nicki Minaj, James Harden, KeKe Palmer, Nick Cannon, Ne-Yo, Chance the Rapper and Ludacris. Check out Kendrick Lamar’s visit to Bethel High School in Alaska, a former “drop-out factory” that earned the visit by winning one of Get Schooled’s national points-based competitions:

Read More

Fences Adds to Trophy Case as Washington, Davis Take Top Honors at SAG Awards

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

The awards keep piling up for Paramount’s Fences, which scooped up four nominations for next month’s Oscars. After Denzel Washington and Viola Davis took Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress honors, respectively, in the Golden Globe Awards, they repeated the feat at last night’s Screen Actors Guild awards.

Denzel Washington earned Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. He cited a thundering canon of playwrights in his acceptance speech, including Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Eugene O’Neill, Edward Albee and Fences creator August Wilson. He is contending for best Actor in a Leading Role at the Oscars.

In accepting her award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, Viola Davis contemplated the significance of Wilson’s achievement. “What August did so beautifully, is he honored the average man, who happened to be a man of color,” she said. “And sometimes we don’t have to shape the world and move the world and create anything that’s going to be in the history book. The fact that we breathe and live a life and was a god to our children – just that means that we have a story and it deserves to be told.”

Watch her full remarks below:

Read More

Paramount Locks Down 18 Oscar Nominations Behind Strength of Arrival, Fences

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

There’s a movie about an alien invasion and one about race relations in 1950s Pittsburgh and one about a Manhattan socialite who has everything except for self-awareness. There’s the latest entry into the Star Trek canon and a spy-thriller of a jaunt back to World War II and another journey even further back with religious missionaries in feudal Japan. And there’s a biopic on one of the most persistent stories of our time, the attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi.

These are the seven Paramount movies that secured a total of 18 nominations for the 89th Oscars when the academy released its annual list of nominees on Tuesday morning.

Critical favorites Arrival and Fences led with eight and four nominations, respectively, with each earning a shot at Best Picture. Florence Foster Jenkins follows with a pair of nominations, including Actress in a Leading Role for star Meryl Streep. Silence, Allied, Star Trek Beyond and 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi each locked down nominations in one category.

An extended member of the Paramount family also racked up his first Oscar nomination – former international marketing division intern Jean de Meuron’s La Femme et la TGV is up in the short film category.

All of nominations are listed below, along with a preview of each film. The show will air on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017 on ABC. See the full list of movies in each category here.

Arrival – eight nominations

  • Best Picture
  • Directing – Denis Villeneuve
  • Adapted Screenplay – by Eric Heisserer
  • Cinematography
  • Sound Editing
  • Sound Mixing
  • Film Editing
  • Production Design (Patrice Vermette, Paul Hotte)

Fences – four nominations

  • Best Picture
  • Actor in a Leading Role – Denzel Washington
  • Actress in a Supporting Role – Viola Davis
  • Adapted Screenplay – by August Wilson

Read More

Four Viacom Overachievers Make Cablefax List of Young Talent

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Cablefax recently laid out their annual tally of 100 Overachievers Under 30, and four Viacom employees made the list. This is a diverse and capable group. They line up social talent for marketing campaigns. They manage sprawling networks of digital and social channels. They coordinate programming strategies across linear and digital channels. They create custom co-branded campaigns for partners and networks.

And they are just getting started.

While they work across many of our networks and divisions – Epix, CMT, TV Land, and our Velocity in-house agency are all represented – a common thread of their workday seems to be the freedom to pursue creative solutions to novel challenges.

“I love the variety of campaigns I get to work on and the creative freedom I have to make each of them unique,” says Julie Feinerman, social media manager at Epix.

Each of the honorees was “excited,” “surprised,” “thrilled,” or “honored” to make the list, while pointing to the guidance of role models who helped them develop the work ethic and grit to achieve career success.

“My first boss at MTV, Jessica Zalkind, continues to be a mentor and #ladyboss that I admire,” says Lauren Elias, a social talent coordinator for Viacom Velocity. “She taught me that hard work, and going beyond just getting the job done are keys to success.”

In addition to Feinerman and Zalkind, CMT’s Kate Warburton and Velocity’s Brian O’Toole also represent Viacom on the annual Cablefax list. They will be honored at a reception later this month. Scroll down to learn a bit more about each of these Viacom standouts.

Young Viacom talent frequently makes these industry lists, with several, including Elias, making Cynopsis’ Rising Stars roster earlier this year. Cablefax frequently mines the company’s deep talent pool when it sorts out the best in the industry, including its recent lists of top minorities and most powerful women in cable.

LAUREN ELIAS, SOCIAL TALENT COORDINATOR, VIACOM VELOCITY

Lauren EliasTenure: 4 years

What she does: Discovers, casts, and manages social talent for Velocity projects, integrated marketing campaigns, and more

What she loves most about her job at Viacom: I love discovering new talent that our brand partners and network executive are excited about.

Her reaction when she found out she was named as a Cablefax Overachiever: I was super excited. It was all the more reason to continue working hard toward my career goals.

What she is most looking forward to about the networking reception on Dec. 14: Meeting like-minded colleagues who feel proud about their work.

Can you point to a mentor or role model who helped you achieve success so young? My first boss at MTV, Jessica Zalkind, who continues to be a mentor and #ladyboss that I admire.

What specific advice did they give you that stuck with you? She taught me that hard work, and going beyond just “getting the job done” are keys to success. I also have to thank my current boss, Tom DeNapoli, who always supports me, always trusts me, always champions me, and always teaches me.

Read More

Younger, Workaholics, South Park Up for People’s Choice Awards

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

People’s Choice recently announced the nominees for the 43rd edition of the classic awards show, and four Viacom favorites are on the list. TV Land’s hit original series, Younger is up for favorite cable TV comedy, while Hilary Duff, who plays millennial Kelsey Peters on the show, is nominated as favorite cable TV actress. Comedy Central is represented as well, with Workaholics star Adam Devine up for favorite cable TV actor, and South Park – which is in the midst of a hugely popular 20th season – is up for favorite animated TV show.

Check out a preview of these fan faves below, and click through between now and Dec. 15 to vote. The 2017 People’s Choice Awards will air live from Los Angeles on CBS on Jan. 18, 2017.

FAVORITE CABLE TV COMEDY

YoungerTV Land – Vote for Younger here

FAVORITE CABLE TV ACTOR

Adam Devine – WorkaholicsComedy Central – Vote Adam here

Read More

BET Leads With 5 of 10 Viacom Execs Named to Cablefax’s Most Powerful Women in Cable List

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

“You have women in these pages who have made it their mission to lift others up,” wrote Cablefax editor Amy Maclean in their November issue, which was dedicated to the most powerful women in cable. “Women who are pioneering technological innovation. Women who are shrewd negotiators. Women who are speaking up in boardrooms. Who knows… maybe one of the Most powerful Women in Cable will someday be elected to the most powerful office in the land.”

We are proud to note that 10 of those women – and three of the top 50 – work for Viacom. That half of these get-things-done executives come from BET, including CEO Debra Lee, is unsurprising, given that network’s reputation for recruiting women to direct some of its most important programs. Earlier this week, Essence wrote a salute to the outsized impact that black women show runners – including Being Mary Jane’s Erica Shelton Kodish – were having on the television landscape.

BET is hardly alone in celebrating women. CMT, whose senior vice president of operations, Suzanne Norman, made the list, recently launched its annual Next Women of Country to showcase the best new talent in a genre that remains male-dominated. Viacom hosts a resource group open to all employees that is committed to championing women’s interests, and the company regularly partners with organizations such as Safe Horizon and Joyful Heart Foundation that assist women in need and promote women’s rights.

Underscoring the diversity that powers Viacom, many of these women also appeared on Cablefax’s recent list of top minority executives: Lee, BET CMO and marketing executive vice president Vicky Free, and BET programming executive vice president Zola Mashariki. Two other BET executives – Maureen Guthman and Connie Orlando – made the adjacent “Influentials” list.

We congratulate these dedicated women and thank them for their tremendous contributions to Viacom’s ongoing success. Click through below to see why Cablefax chose each of these individuals as industry standouts.

Read More

BET, Logo, VH1 Honored for Excellence in Multicultural Marketing

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

They are shows that celebrate drag culture and America’s oldest gay ski week. They mine the early days of hip-hop and toast its ripple effect throughout our culture. They erase our differences by showing that we’re not so different when we’re… naked.

As varied as these shows and their subjects are, they have one thing in common: each one highlights the programming on a Viacom network.

Actually, they have another thing in common: each was honored by the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity In Communications (NAMIC) last month. For the 30th consecutive year, the organization hosted the Excellence in Multicultural Marketing Awards (EMMA) to acknowledge the very best in multicultural marketing.

A trio of our networks – BET, Logo and VH1 – took more than a dozen of the awards altogether. This follows an impressive showing by Nickelodeon and BET at NAMIC’s Vision Awards last spring.

View the full list of 2016 EMMA winners as laid out in Cablefax here, or check out the NAMIC video below:

Congratulations to all of the Viacom winners. We’ve organized them by category below:

Read More

VIMN Velocity Is International Media Brand of the Year

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

The 27th M&M Global Awards, held in London last week, are a pretty big-deal event.

How big? Ask Viacom International Media Networks President Bob Bakish.

“The M&M Global Awards are the Media, Marketing & Advertising event in the UK,” he wrote in a note to employees earlier this week.

The occasion for Bakish’s note was simple: to congratulate the Viacom Velocity International group for taking International Media Brand of the Year at this hugely important event.

The Viacom Velocity Team Poses With Their M&M Global Award for International Media Brand of the Year

The Viacom Velocity Team Poses With Their M&M Global Award for International Media Brand of the Year

Read More