Viacom Digital Studios hires AwesomenessTV alumna Paula Kaplan

Paula Kaplan, Viacom's new executive vice president of talent and development. (Viacom Digital Studios)

Viacom Digital Studios has hired Paula Kaplan, who most recently served as chief talent officer and head of live content at AwesomenessTV, to serve as executive vice president of talent and development.

Kelly Day, president of VDS, sent a memo to employees announcing that Kaplan would begin in the newly created position on Monday, April 30.

“Paula will take a leading role in ensuring that VDS is the home of groundbreaking faces and stories, overseeing Viacom’s most influential social media stars, and securing innovative digital talent and production partnerships to build our portfolio of original talent-centric IP. Further, Paula will partner with teams across Viacom—including the Brands, Communications, Marketing, Ad Sales and Integrated Marketing—to ensure that we are coordinated in our approach to talent and production deals,” Day wrote.

While at AwesomenessTV, Kaplan oversaw talent strategy as well as creative and business operations for the Multi-Channel Network (MCN) and casting for feature films and long- and short-form digital series.

Her new role at Viacom marks a homecoming for Kaplan, who previously spent more than 20 years at Nickelodeon, including a stint as executive vice president of original programming and live events.

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During this week’s earnings call, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish touted the success of VDS, which the company launched last year. He said the business has amassed 850 million social followers across its portfolio and reached 4.3 billion social video views during the previous quarter.

“To support and further grow this demand, we will continue to be very aggressive in increasing the volume of digital output and will publish more than 600 hours of original content this year. And remember, this was short form so we are talking about an incredible volume of fresh episodes,” said Bakish, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.