Paramount Viacommunity Film Vies for Top Spot at Boston College Festival

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

​Each year, thousands of Viacom employees around the world unite for Viacommunity Day, helping to rebuild and revitalize their local communities with a series of service projects. At Paramount Pictures – which for the past two years has had the highest percentage of employees from any Viacom company division participating in projects – the day has special resonance.

To commemorate the titanic efforts of their employees at last year’s event, Paramount’s social responsibility team put together A Day for Unity, a rousing video recap of the landscaping, painting, organizing, and volunteering at zoos, community centers, soup kitchens and food distribution centers that took place across the Los Angeles area on Viacommunity Day 2017.

Paramount Viacommunity 2017 Video from Viacom on Vimeo.

This video testament to Paramount’s efforts is now part of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship International Corporate Citizenship Film Festival, an annual event that honors the best in corporate social responsibility. Click here by Feb. 19 to vote for Paramount’s submission.

Viacom Takes Six NAACP Image Awards Across Four Properties

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

With programming that ranged from definitive biopics to animation to riotous unscripted and scripted programming, Viacom scooped up six NAACP Image Awards at this year’s ceremony honoring outstanding performances by people of color.

BET earned a pair of honors for its standout biopic The New Edition Story, while Comedy Central’s animated Legend of Chamberlain Heights took home one statuette. Viacom’s newest network – Paramount Network – brought in two more wins with its beloved Lip Sync Battle, while the Paramount Television-produced 13 Reasons Why added one more.

Take a look at the diverse Viacom properties that impressed this year’s selection committee.

BETThe New Edition Story

  • Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special
  • Outstanding Writing in a Television Movie or Special – Abdul Williams, Night 2

When The New Edition Story landed last January, it hit as BET’s most-watched premiere in five years, racking up more than 4 million viewers per episode and dominating the social media conversation. Critics loved it.

COMEDY CENTRALLegends of Chamberlain Heights

  • Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance – Tiffany Haddish

Comedy Central’s ribald animated portrait of three benchwarming hoops wannabees returned for a second season in June. Turns out the trio can’t hit the starting lineup in the awards circuit either: Tiffany Haddish, who plays Cindy on the series, out-hustled the guys to win this honor for the year’s best voice-over. Haddish also earned the Outstanding Supporting Acrtress in a Motion Picture honor for her role as Dina in Universal Picture’s Girls Trip.

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Apple Names MTV Play App, Built with Viacom’s Play Plex Mobile Platform, One of Best of 2017

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Apple named the MTV Play product to its Best Developers category on its App Store Best of 2017 list. The app, built on Viacom’s proprietary Play Plex platform, underscores the company’s engineering expertise and acts as a case study of its ability to create widely adaptable solutions that allow its brands to quickly deploy their content to next-generation platforms.

“Inclusion on this list speaks a lot to the ability of Viacom’s engineering and product teams to work together to build a world-class experience for our brands and fans,” said Dhimiter Bozo, senior vice president of Software Engineering.

MTV Play, which is available in 26 global markets, has been installed nearly 10 million times and has served more than 325 million MTV content streams. Viacom engineering teams across Berlin, Milan and New York coordinated to build and launch the app, a process that was considerably streamlined by the fact that it was built on top of an extensive and flexible mobile platform called Play Plex.

The Play Plex platform is a system that Viacom engineers custom built to enable the company’s brands to quickly launch branded apps. When MTV or Nickelodeon or Comedy Central wants to build a new mobile app, they don’t have to start from scratch. They simply feed their content and branding to the engineering team, which then ingests the content and submits it to the App Store (or Google Play or Kindle) for review and release.

The result is an app that looks and performs great with minimal technical investment from the brands themselves.

“As a Viacom brand, when you sign up to be on the Play Plex platform, your touchpoints are minimized, so you don’t have to worry about the complexity of being on some of these platforms,” notes Bozo. “This makes things easier for everyone: designers can focus on creative instead of getting hung up with tech, we don’t need large engineering teams to do repetitive work, and our process considerably shortens the timeline for brands to reach consumers in new markets.”

And since apps built on the Play Plex platform have already been downloaded tens of millions of times, Viacom brands know they are creating an app that consumers will love and that will faithfully deliver their content.

“We didn’t want to build just another utility app that would be easy for us, but something that showcases Viacom’s strong history and presence in amazing content creation,” said Bozo.

The ramping up of Play Plex reflects a larger global investment in top engineering talent at Viacom, which has attracted industry leaders who now staff an ever-evolving operation that has pivoted rapidly toward mobile development, machine-learning and more.

“Our mission is to meet fans wherever they might be watching and on whichever device they prefer,” said Bozo. “That includes any new ways of consuming content that evolve in the future. To meet these ever-evolving demands, Viacom has built a best-in-class software engineering team that works tirelessly to enable the distribution of content to new platforms and reach our global users in ways that we could not in the past.”

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Is Trevor Noah Dishonest and Corrupt Enough to Win Trump’s Honor?

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

How does a U.S. president follow up a Twitter threat to start a nuclear war with America’s external enemies?

With a promise to strike the malcontents who are most ferociously attacking the nation from within – the mainstream media:

Comedy Central’s Daily Show host Trevor Noah could barely contain his excitement at this proclamation from the Very-Stable-Genius-in-Chief.

“After provoking North Korea and then insulting Palestine, the President turned to America’s greatest foe: the fake-news media,” Noah said of Trump’s announcement. “So that was Donald Trump’s day on Twitter. The bad news is he’s itching to start a nuclear war. The good news is, despite his threats to Korea, at least he thinks we’re going to make it until Monday.”

And the better news for fans is that, despite Trump pushing the awards until Wednesday, Noah is lobbying hard to win this distinction. In the grand tradition of “for your consideration” awards season self-promotion, Noah turned to the “failing” (according to Trump), New York Times to promote himself as the best possible candidate for the president’s prize:

Noah even plastered his qualifications on a Times Square billboard (on the north side of Viacom’s HQ at 1515 Broadway):

Noah will have plenty of competition, including Comedy Central alums Stephen Colbert and Samantha Bee, who are running their own furious campaigns for this high honor. Noah is not intimidated. “President Trump, don’t be faked out by their fake fake-outs,” a narrator says on a Daily Show-sponsored ad dismissing Colbert and Bee as fake fakers. “When you cast your vote on Monday, vote for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. He covers you very unfairly, and he’s literally un-American.”

It’s true (though don’t hold that against them): Noah is from South Africa.

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Glassdoor Celebrates Viacom as “Company We Wished We Worked For”

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Viacom has recently snagged mentions as a company with jaw-dropping workspaces, as one of the top job destinations for working moms, and as one of the top large companies to work for. With such a multidimensional environment that continually cultivates young talent and encourages next-generation development programs such as Girls Who Code, it is fitting that Glassdoor recently named Viacom as one of “11 Companies We Wish We Worked For.”

Viacom on LinkedIn: “It’s time to end the…

It’s time to end the “company envy” and land your dream job. See why employees are raving about Viacom : https://lnkd.in/d2rNX_3

“It’s easy to be envious of other companies’ benefits, perks, offices, bonuses and culture,” Glassdoor writes of the companies that made their list. “After all, reading employees’ rave reviews on Glassdoor can give anyone company envy. If you’re already thinking about jumping ship from your current gig, check out these 11 companies with offerings and missions that are sure to make job seekers giddy.”

They point to Viacom’s suite of iconic brands and culture of growth and learning as factors that make the company an attractive job destination.

Reviewers on Glassdoor underscore this point. “Great work / life balance, great benefits, fair compensation, laid-back atmosphere, fun employee events, corporate management encourages and supports volunteerism. Last but not least – great people,” wrote one anonymous reviewer identified as a current employee.

“Great progressive place to work,” wrote another (the company’s focus on giving back and emphasis on diversity are consistent favorites among employees). Another praised the “Good benefits, time off and work/life balance” (the benefits include such perks as adoption assistance and back-up daycare, which are enormously important to those who have or are looking to start families). A third wrote, “Amazing people to surround yourself with” (there are really so many good people who work here).

If you’re interested in joining the team, you can find up-to-date job listings on viacom.com or Glassdoor.

Viacom Scores Golden Globe Nominations for “Downsizing,” “13 Reasons Why”

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Video created by Viacom Catalyst

Downsizing doesn’t hit theaters until Dec. 22, but the Alexander Payne-directed fantasy about a resource-starved future, in which citizens shrink themselves to conserve resources, is already creating enough buzz to earn a Golden Globe nomination.

Hong Chau earned a spot on the list of contenders in the Best Supporting Actress category, becoming just the third person of East Asian decent to earn that distinction since 1970, according to EW.com.

“This is the type of character who’s always in the background,” Chau told EW about the significance of her prominent role in the film. “I hope filmmakers will go back and take a look at people whom they thought they couldn’t mine drama or entertainment from. There are a lot of characters that have been underdeveloped because people aren’t interested or are afraid of attempting to tell their stories.”

On the television side, Viacom scored an additional nomination, for the Paramount Television-produced Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Katherine Langford, who plays the tragic Hannah Baker – a high-schooler driven to suicide by the behavior of her fellow students on the hit series – is a finalist in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama category.

Paramount Television, which is a division of the Paramount Pictures Hollywood film studio and is behind hits such as USA Networks’ Shooter and Epix’s Berlin Station, is an increasingly important part of Viacom’s business. On the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year earnings call on Nov. 16, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish noted that the studio had tripled revenues in just the last year alone and has an aggressive slate planned for 2018.

Seth Meyers will host the 2018 Golden Globes, which will air live on NBC at 8 p.m. ET on Jan. 7, 2018, broadcast from the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton.

Viacom Scores Five 2018 Critics’ Choice Nominations

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Congratulations to Viacom’s TV Land, MTV, VH1 and Paramount Pictures, each of which scored at least one nomination for the 2018 Critics’ Choice Awards.

A Manhattan striver who shaves 15 years off her age to advance her career, a raw look at the often shaky lives of teenage mothers, the greatest drag spectacle on television, and a what-if world where humankind shrinks itself to spare the planet’s resources – here’s a closer look at the properties that earned Viacom five nominations:

Best Actress in a Comedy Series – Sutton Foster, Younger – TV Land

Best Unstructured Reality Series – Teen Mom – MTV

Best Reality Competition Series – RuPaul’s Drag Race – VH1

Best Reality Show Host – RuPaul, RuPaul’s Drag Race – VH1

Best Supporting Actress – Hong Chau, Downsizing – Paramount Pictures

The Critics’ Choice Awards will air Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 on The CW Network.

Jaw Dropped: Viacom Makes Glassdoor’s List of Spectacular Offices

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Leaving the chaos of Times Square and pushing through the revolving doors into the award-winning lobby of Viacom’s headquarters at 1515 Broadway, it’s obvious you’re entering a place where entertainment is made. Batteries of televisions line the walls. A pair of supersized monitors pounds through highlights and previews of major television and movie properties. At the end of the elevator banks, supersized, vertically oriented glass shutter doors blink through updates of what’s happening all around the company. Through those doors is a cavernous event space. To the right is a humming, bright cafe.

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It’s design-first environments such as this lobby that helped Viacom make Glassdoor’s list of 16 companies with “jaw-dropping offices.” It’s a workspace, Glassdoor says, that is, “truly fit for the stars.” And these spaces reflect a company ethos that prizes environments tailored to accommodate the sort of high-octane creative work that is our lifeblood.

“The editors at Glassdoor are experts on workplace culture so it’s an honor to be included on this list,” says Vice President of Planning & Design Yetta Banks. “Beyond creating a pretty place to work, the goal for this project has always been to create spaces that encourage creativity, collaboration and play. Viacom is all about driving culture and conversation and it’s important that this mission is reflected in the way that we work.”

The gradual upgrades to Viacom’s offices have been ongoing for some time, and reach well beyond our New York City headquarters. In recent years, the company opened an 88,000-square-foot Viacom International production studio in Miami:

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… massively expanded its Nick animation studio in Burbank:

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attends the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the Grand Opening of Nickelodeon's State-of-the-Art… Read More

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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

… and opened a new eight-brand West Coast headquarters in the bustle of Hollywood:

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Viacom Makes Working Mothers’ Best Companies List for Seventh Year – 12 Moms Help Explain Why

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

For the seventh consecutive year, Working Mother has named Viacom to its list of 100 Best Companies. The reasons why Viacom is a great place to be a mom are plentiful, including:

  • 10 paid weeks of maternity leave
  • $15,000 in assistance for anyone adopting or fostering a child, or using a surrogate
  • A fertility concierge service that connects employees to patient advocates, nurses, genetic counselors, and surrogacy and donor specialists
  • 25 days of subsidized care-giving for children (or adults) per year
  • Access to lactation experts
  • The ability to ship breast milk home from business trips

But the best people to explain why Viacom so consistently makes Working Mother’s list is the moms themselves. We asked a dozen of them why this company was such a great destination for women who don’t want to have to choose between family and career:

Helen Adair, Learning & Development – 

“Viacom allows me the flexibility to have a rewarding career while balancing my family commitments with two children. I also appreciate The Parenthood – our employee resource group for working parents that offers educational sessions and resources for parents, fun events and chances to connect with fellow working parents. And my kids absolutely love coming to the Paramount Lot for movie screenings and the Annual Tree Lighting celebration. I love that they are so excited to visit my workplace.”

Adair and family at last year’s Christmas tree lighting on the Paramount Lot.

Lydia Daly, Social Media/Marketing, Viacom Velocity –

“I knew that Viacom was a great company for working moms on the day I returned to work after having my first baby (our second is due any day!). It’s a very emotional and sad day in many senses and yet I found I was surrounded by women who had been through this before and were able to provide support and reassurance. Family definitely comes first here and you can feel it.”

Daly and her family.

Joelle Fleming, Pricing and Inventory, BET –

“I received a call at work from my husband that we were selected as the pre-adoptive parents for two small children – and we had to pick them up that day.  I left the office, no questions asked, with the full support of my team and Viacom. The children have since been legally adopted, and we could not be more thrilled!”

Fleming with her family: John, Amber, Matty, Nikki, and Abby.

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RuPaul, Daily Show Bring Combined Four Creative Arts Emmys to Viacom

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Behind the dual cultural touchstones of VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Viacom tallied four wins at the Creative Arts Emmys earlier this week. Here’s a video round-up of the victors:

Viacom 2017 Creative Arts Emmy Wins from Viacom on Vimeo.

This is RuPaul’s second consecutive year taking the Outstanding Host of a Variety, Nonfiction or Reality Program honor – an outcome that was widely predicted after the show’s move from Viacom’s Logo to VH1 earlier this year.

Drag Race was already the best reality show on TV, and you’d have been hard-pressed to tell anyone within its community of loyal fans that its reach was niche, but the show’s move from the Logo network to Viacom neighbor VH1 proved that the ceiling on television’s premiere drag competition was even higher,” wrote Decider’s Joe Reid in July. “The show scored record ratings and was a massive hit on social media.”

Take one look at the host commanding the stage, and it’s clear why RuPaul repeated this top honor:

With the added exposure, the program racked up seven Emmy nominations this season, and one category remains undecided: RuPaul’s Drag Race is also nominated in the Best Reality Competition Series category, the winner of which will be announced at the primetime Emmys ceremony this Sunday, Sept. 17.

The Daily Show’s Emmy, for Outstanding Short Form Variety Series, celebrates Noah’s “Between the Scenes” takes, in which he riffs on prominent news stories. Here, the host breaks down the U.S. government’s bizarre tradition of perpetually threatening shutdowns over its own failure to raise the debt ceiling:

The Emmy win came on the same week that Comedy Central extended Noah’s contract through 2022. The move acknowledged the show’s incredible and consistent ratings and social engagement growth as the host nears his two-year anniversary at the helm. Vitally, The Daily Show is positioned to wrap this quarter as the most-watched daily, late-night show among millennials.

This is not Noah’s first trip to an awards podium – this past spring, he took Best Host at MTV’s reconfigured Movie and TV Awards.