Viacom18 restructures leadership team; Ferzad Palia to head all SVoD services including Voot Kids

Viacom18 has announced shuffling in its leadership team to focus on scaling and bolstering its digital and broadcast businesses. Driving the agenda of growing its digital subscription businesses, Ferzad Palia has been assigned an expanded mandate as Viacom18 Digital Ventures SVoD and International Business head. 

In his new role, Palia will head all SVoD services – Voot Select and Voot Kids as well as the international expansion of Voot. He will report directly to Viacom18 Digital Ventures COO Gourav Rakshit.

Ferzad Palia

The network’s Youth, Music and English Entertainment business,  comprising channels that are leaders in their respective categories, will now be led by Anshul Ailawadi, erstwhile strategy and project management lead at the Group CEO’s office. In his new role, Ailawadi will be reporting to Network18 managing director Rahul Joshi.

In its endeavour to become a future-proof organisation, identifying opportunities to drive synergies has proved crucial for India’s fastest growing M&E company. Palia has led the growth of the network’s Youth, Music and English Entertainment business for the past 16 years. More recently he launched Voot Select that has already raced to add 1 mn+ subscribers within a year. He will now look to cohesively grow Viacom18’s SVoD and International digital businesses. 

Ailawadi has played a key role in the growth of Viacom18 over the last six years and is a strong proponent of the tremendous fandom, and the potential business opportunity that the YME brands of Viacom18 command. In a young country like India, these brands have a long runway for growth, especially given the proliferation of digital platforms.

Viacom18 forayed into digital subscription businesses in late 2019 with Voot Kids that was closely followed by Voot Select launched in March 2020. Voot Select recently reported acquiring over 1 mn subscribers in its first year and though being a late entrant in the category it’s the fastest growing broadcaster-backed OTT service. Youth, Music and English Entertainment portfolio of Viacom18 consists of category leading channels like MTV, MTV Beats, Vh1, Comedy Central and Colors Infinity.