The project will develop content addressing climate, equity and health for the company’s portfolio of brands and third-party partners. It’s part of Content for Change, a ViacomCBS initiative aiming to counteract racism, bias, stereotypes and hate through the company’s culture, creative supply chain and its content.
“We understand the significant role entertainment plays in shaping minds and ultimately driving change. Now with VIS Social Impact, we will harness the power of storytelling to challenge stereotypes, shift perceptions, and create meaningful change in the critical areas of climate, equity and health,” said Raffaele Annecchino, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International, in a statement.
“Through ViacomCBS’ massive global footprint and the work of this new studio, we have a responsibility to elevate 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, SVP of social responsibility for ViacomCBS Networks International. Arnold was executive director and co-founder of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, an organization aiming to protect young people against HIV, and improve sexual and reproductive health. She’s also the executive producer for the series MTV Shuga, which fuses sexual health messaging with storylines about intimate relationships between young people.
The first commission for VIS Social Impact is Protest & Progress from photographer and social activist Misan Harriman (pictured). The 3 x 60-minute docuseries is set to premiere on Paramount+ at the end of next year. The series will see Harriman travel the world to uncover stories behind some of the most powerful images and art forms that have defined movements, aiming to educate on the importance of protests.
“This is a passion project that explores how a single image can reflect and influence society and inspire hope,” Harriman said.
VIS Social Impact also plans to champion diverse creators and content focused on under-represented communities, starting with an inclusive writers’ room focused on scripted ideas and led by actor, writer and director Thishiwe Ziqubu.