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The executive, who joined Comcast Cable in late 2019 as senior vp content acquisition after working at Epix and also has experience at Viacom, will assume his role later in January, following regulatory approval of the SkyShowtime venture, which is expected soon. He will be based in London, reporting to the board of SkyShowtime, which is using the brand names of Comcast’s European pay TV giant Sky and ViacomCBS’ Showtime.
The two companies had in August struck a deal to launch a new subscription video-on-demand service in more than 20 European territories, including Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland, this year. The territories encompass 90 million homes.
“Monty is ideally suited to take the reins of SkyShowtime, drawing upon his extensive experience spanning the entertainment industry, having worked in programming, strategy and distribution at subscription services and across multichannel video programming distribution, video-on-demand and direct-to-consumer platforms,” Andrea Zappia, Sky’s executive vp and CEO, new markets & businesses, said in a memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
“Monty’s career at the forefront of both content and technology, his ability to scale businesses and his knowledge of both joint venture partners make him the perfect leader for the business as we bring the very best entertainment, movies and original series from the ViacomCBS, Sky and NBCUniversal portfolio of brands to SkyShowtime,” highlighted Raffaele Annecchino, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International, in another memo.
The executives noted that Sarhan in his most recent role has overseen the finance, operations, compliance and strategy teams and was “negotiating many of Comcast Cable’s content partnerships.” Before that, he worked at MGM’s premium television service Epix as executive vp and general manager, “leading the service to record subscriber growth and launching its direct-to-consumer service,” the memos noted. “Prior to that, Monty worked at ViacomCBS and was part of the original launch team at Epix, which began as a ViacomCBS joint venture, joining as its head of business affairs.” Before Epix, Sarhan served as vp in Viacom’s Media Networks division.
Other leadership team members for SkyShowtime will be announced “in due course,” according to the memos.
Annecchino in his memo highlighted how the joint venture fits into his team’s planned global rollout of streaming services across the world. “This year, ViacomCBS will continue the acceleration of our global streaming expansion as we embrace a truly differentiated strategy across every segment of the streaming universe and capitalize on our robust global content pipeline,” he wrote. “As we continue to prioritize the global rollout of Paramount+ and the expansion of Pluto TV, we are also preparing to launch the premium streaming service SkyShowtime, a joint venture with Comcast, which will be available in more than 20 European markets beginning in 2022.”
Sky Group CEO Dana Strong in 2021 touted SkyShowtime, saying it would “combine the best of the U.S. and Europe with iconic brands and world-class entertainment for millions of consumers,” providing 10,000-plus hours of entertainment.
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