Sunday, 5th, December, 2021

ViacomCBS launches VIS Social Impact, with content focused on social change

The ViacomCBS International Studios announced the release of VIS Social Impact. The new studio division will develop innovative social impact content addressing climate, equity and health for ViacomCBS' portfolio of brands, including Paramount +, as well as for third-party partners.

VIS Social Impact is part of Content for Change, a global initiative by ViacomCBS that aims to combat racism, prejudice, stereotypes and hatred through the company's culture, the creative supply chain and, ultimately, the content it creates.

“For decades, we've told stories that matter and we understand the significant role entertainment plays in shaping minds and ultimately driving change. Now, with VIS Social Impact, we're going to harness the power of storytelling to challenge stereotypes, change perceptions and create meaningful changes in the critical areas of climate, equity and health,” he said. Raffaele Annecchino, President and CEO of VCNI. “Through ViacomCBS' huge global footprint and the work of this new studio, we have a responsibility to raise the voices that need to be heard and to use our content to make a tangible impact on the world's biggest challenges.”

VIS Social Impact is led by Georgia Arnold, Senior Vice President, Social Responsibility, ViacomCBS Networks International, reporting to JC Acosta, President, ViacomCBS International Studios and Networks Americas. Arnold brings decades of behavior change experience as Executive Director and co-founder of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, a highly respected organization whose goal is to protect young people around the world from HIV and improve their sexual and reproductive health. She is also the executive producer of the award-winning MTV series Shuga, which starred Lupita Nyong'o and Thuso Mbedu, and fuses sexual health messages with heartwarming stories about intimate relationships between young people. Over the past decade, there have been several evaluations that have shown the positive causal impact of watching MTV Shuga and an increase in condom use, HIV testing, and shifting social norms about gender-based violence.

“Georgia is a leader in the social responsibility space with a proven track record of driving innovative social impact initiatives for our brand,” said JC Acosta, president, ViacomCBS International Studios and ViacomCBS Networks Americas. “The creation of 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.”

The first commission of VIS Social Impact is the Protest & Progress, in Misan Harriman, world-renowned photographer and social activist. The documentary series will aim not only to educate about the importance of protests, but to inspire audiences to remember their voice issues.

“It's an honor to be among the first VIS Social Impact committees and have the opportunity to showcase the power of photography and art to a global audience at Paramount+,” said Harriman. “This is an exciting project that explores how a single image can reflect and influence society and inspire hope.”

In addition, VIS Social Impact will champion diverse creators and content focused on under-represented communities. The studio will begin this work with the launch of an inclusive writers room focused on scripted ideas fed by a diverse group of creatives, with a strong presence of participants from LGBTQ+ communities. It will be led by the actor, writer and director Thishiwe Ziqubu.

“As a non-binary creative genre, spaces where our voices are heard for their pure artistic truth are imperative. Free space for the expression of our individual lived experience is rare. I look forward to seeing the tapestry of ideas emerging from this room of Blacks storytellers with a unique voice,” said Ziqubu.

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