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Viacom18 hires Shaadi.com exec to run streaming platform Voot

Viacom18 hires Shaadi.com exec to run streaming platform Voot
Photo Credit: 123RF.com

Broadcaster and digital content provider Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd has appointed Gourav Rakshit as chief operating officer of digital arm Viacom18 Digital Ventures.

Rakshit will report to Sudhanshu Vats, group CEO and MD at Viacom18, the company said in a statement.

Viacom18 Digital operates streaming platform Voot, which primarily offers content from Colors' network of TV channels including VH1, MTV India, Nickelodeon India and other Viacom18-owned channels. Launched in late 2015, Voot also produces originals.

“Our digital foray has grown exponentially since its inception three years back, with the sharply segmented businesses – the ad-led model, the international business and the soon-to-be-launched subscription-based Voot Kids service. As we unlock business value, Gourav, with an in-depth understanding of digital disruption and a proven track-record of envisioning subscription growth, is the right person to lead our talented teams across the Digital Ventures portfolio,” Vats said.

Rakshit replaces Gaurav Gandhi, who was roped in by e-commerce giant Amazon to head its streaming service Prime Video in March last year.

A University of Rochester and IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus, Rakshit is currently serving as the president and CEO of People Group that owns and operates Shaadi.com. He has previously worked with Nestle, Planetasia and Infosys Consulting.

Voot competes with US-based streaming giants Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube Premium, and homegrown Hotstar, ALTBalaji, Zee5, Eros Now and MX Player.

Viacom18 is a joint venture between Mukesh Ambani-owned Network18 Media & Investments Ltd and Viacom Inc. It started as a broadcast business with three channels--MTV, Nickelodeon and VH1--in 2007. It currently has 44 television channels across 80 countries in six languages, and has diversified into five areas: broadcast, digital, films, merchandise and live events.

In January 2018, Ambani’s TV18 gained a majority stake in Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd, valuing the joint venture  at $2 billion. TV18 acquired 1% in Viacom18 for $20 million from the foreign partner Viacom to raise its stake to 51%.

The company also produces and distributes films through Viacom18 Motion Pictures.

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