ViacomCBS International Studios has launched a new division focused on creating social impact-driven content addressing climate, equity and health.
VIS Social Impact will produce programming for ViacomCBS brands, including Paramount+, as well as third parties. It falls under ViacomCBS’s Content for Change initiative to combat racism and bias. The studio’s first commission is Protest & Progress, a 3×60-minute production with photographer and social activist Misan Harriman for Paramount+.
“It is an honor to be among the first commissions for VIS Social Impact and to have an opportunity to present the power of photography and art to a global audience on Paramount+,” said Harriman. “This is a passion project that explores how a single image can reflect and influence society and inspire hope.”
VIS Social Impact will also champion diverse creators and content focused on underrepresented communities. It is launching an inclusive writers’ room focused on scripted ideas, led by actor, writer and director Thishiwe Ziqubu.
“For decades, we’ve told stories that matter, and we understand the significant role entertainment plays in shaping minds and ultimately driving change,” said Raffaele Annecchino, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International. “Now with VIS Social Impact, we will harness the power of storytelling to challenge stereotypes, shift perceptions and create meaningful change in the critical areas of climate, equity and health. Through ViacomCBS’s massive global footprint and the work of this new studio, we have a responsibility to elevate voices that need to be heard and to use our content to make a tangible impact on the world’s biggest challenges.”
Georgia Arnold, senior VP of social responsibility at ViacomCBS Networks International, will oversee the new studio, reporting to JC Acosta, the president of ViacomCBS International Studios and Networks Americas.
“Georgia is a leader in the social responsibility space with a proven track record of driving groundbreaking social-impact initiatives for our brand,” said Acosta. “Creating this division is a natural evolution for ViacomCBS and further strengthens our commitment to producing best-in-class content that addresses the issues that matter most to our audiences around the world.”