Comcast-ViacomCBS streamer SkyShowtime names CEO

Monty Sarhan

SkyShowtime, the new Comcast and ViacomCBS joint venture streaming service, has found its CEO.

Monty Sarhan will lead the pan-European streamer across more than 20 territories and oversee a content offering that includes shows from Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Sky, and ViacomCBS brands such as Showtime, Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures.

Sarhan, who will be based out of London, was most recently SVP of content acquisition at Comcast Cable and has previously worked at MGM-owned Epix, as well as ViacomCBS.

Andrea Zappia, Sky’s EVP & CEO of new markets & businesses, said in a memo to staff that Sarhan was “ideally suited” to take the reins of Sky Showtime, with the exec having experience across programming, strategy and distribution.

Raffaele Annecchino, president & CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International, said in a memo to his company’s staff that Sarhan’s “career at the forefront of both content and technology, his ability to scale businesses and his knowledge of both joint venture partners” made him “the perfect leader” for the streamer.

Show time for Sarhan

Scheduled for launch late this year, SkyShowtime will bring together entertainment, movies and original series from the NBCUniversal, Sky and ViacomCBS portfolio of brands, including titles from Paramount+ Originals, Sky Studios, Universal Pictures, and Peacock, in addition to those noted above.

The line-up will encompass scripted dramas, kids and family, key franchises, premiere movies, local programming and documentaries and factual content.

SkyShowtime will be launched in markets outside Sky’s existing pay TV and OTT footprint. According to the pair, it will ultimately be available to consumers in Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

The partnership will be structured as a joint venture, with equal investment and joint control by ViacomCBS and Comcast. Further detail on the SkyShowtime service offering, including subscription price, will be announced at a later date.

Sky Showtime’s unveiling in mid-2021 followed growing speculation that Comcast and ViacomCBS were exploring a global streaming partnership, with the former’s CEO Brian Roberts and the latter’s chairman Shari Redstone and CEO Bob Bakish reportedly meeting in New York to discuss a potential alliance.

It also came just a few weeks after news that Comcast was expanding its US streamer Peacock into Europe for the first time as part of Sky. ViacomCBS-owned streamer Paramount+, meanwhile, is being rolled out via Sky in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy.

Execs have previously said that SkyShowtime and Paramount+ will not be available in the same territories, although content will be shared between the two.

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