Reliance Industries’ media and entertainment entity Viacom18 has had a change of guard. In a statement on October 30, Viacom18 announced that Jyoti Deshpande, former President of Reliance’s Media and Platform segment, has been appointed as its new CEO.
The company said that Deshpande will help bring ‘synergies across all of Reliance’s media interests and investments and further equip the company to drive significant growth opportunities as the industry embraces digital transformation’. Apart from Viacom, which helms various TV channels, a movie studio, and a streaming platform, Reliance also has other media interests like Network18 which runs its various news channels, and Web18 which operates all the digital news arms.
Jyothi Deshpande’s career
In its statement, Viacom said that Deshpande has a cumulative experience of 28 years in the media space. Alongside her new role, she also holds a seat on the boards of Network18, Balaji Telefilms, and Saavn Media.
Before joining Reliance, Deshpande was reportedly the MD and group CEO of film studio Eros International where she led the firm’s entry into the OTT space via Eros Now. She reportedly stepped down in 2018 to head Reliance’s media and platform segment after it purchased a 5 percent stake in Eros. Before joining Eros in 2001, she worked in advertising with J Walter Thompson India, headed Advertising Sales & Marketing with Zee Network UK, and was a senior consultant with MindShare UK, according to her profile by the Women Economic Forum.
Viacom’s entertainment and media ventures
The company runs 46 TV channels, according to its website; this includes the various Colors channels, MTV, VH1, and more. It also has an OTT streaming platform called Voot and helms a movie studio called Viacom18 Studios. Viacom18 is a joint venture between Network18, which owns 51%, and US-based ViacomCBS which has a 49% stake in Viacom18.
Last year, talks of a merger between Viacom18 and Sony’s entertainment holdings were reportedly called off due to disagreements between the two on who would be the majority stakeholder of the merged entity.
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