Media execs are obsessed with data — to the point where Viacom today announced that it just created a job, Chief Data Officer, that has gone to Kern Schireson, previously EVP of Data Strategy and Consumer Intelligence.
He will report to CFO Wade Davis and oversee all of Viacom’s domestic and overseas data capabilities involving television, theatrical, events, consumer products, and digital business units.
The goal is to expand Viacom’s data initiatives. They currently include the Vantage ad platform. But the company also wants to take a deeper dive into the numbers at Paramount, and via partnerships at what the company calls “the digital and social ecosystems.”
Data “will play a critical role in growing our company and unlocking the full power of our incredible portfolio,” CEO Bob Bakish says.
Schireson says that Viacom offers several opportunities to “support our world-class brands with advanced capabilities that enhance audience experiences, extend our leadership in new platforms, enable innovative partnerships, and drive real value across the portfolio.”
Schireson ran his own data science and analytics firm, Schireson Associates, before joining Viacom in 2014. He helped to create Vantage.
Bakish has made it clear that he sees data as a cornerstone for his effort to improve its flagging ad sales and overall performance. He told analysts last month that he planned to “build up our leadership in data-driven products and branded entertainment…across the portfolio.” He noted, for example, that at this year’s upfront market Viacom will have “the most comprehensive cross-portfolio package” it has offered with a product it calls Epic.
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