Michael D. Armstrong joined Paramount Pictures as Executive Vice President, Worldwide Television Licensing and Operations in September 2018. In this newly created role, Armstrong’s responsibilities include leading third-party series distribution efforts with studio partners; managing – in partnership with Paramount Television – distribution efforts on local language productions; and overseeing Paramount’s digital monetization team.
In this position, Armstrong also works closely with Viacom International Studios as it explores the creation of an unwired network for the distribution of series content to international partners.
Previously, Armstrong served as General Manager of BET Networks. In this role, Armstrong drove strategy and operations, with direct oversight of Content Strategy & Multiplatform Scheduling, Marketing, Corporate Communications and Operations. He also liaised closely with teams across Viacom’s Media Networks, including Strategy, Finance and Research & Audience Science.
Prior to that role, Armstrong was Executive Vice President and General Manager, Revenue and Emerging Brands, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN). In this role, Armstrong managed the development and expansion of BET, Paramount Channel, and Spike internationally and oversaw International Program Sales, Affiliate Sales, and Viacom Velocity International, VIMN’s ad sales division.
In his work with Emerging Brands, Armstrong was responsible for identifying new market opportunities to launch BET, Paramount Channel and Spike internationally, and oversaw the strategy, branding and operations of those brands outside the US. This included working with VIMN teams to develop growth strategies, monetize these brands and license programs and formats worldwide.
With his oversight of Revenue for VIMN, Armstrong worked closely with the International Program Sales, Affiliate Sales, and Viacom Velocity International teams to offer best-in-class solutions for sponsors and advertising clients, and to secure new opportunities with partners around the world to spread the reach of Viacom’s extensive programming library.
Armstrong has led many firsts for the company including the creation and launch of Paramount Channel internationally in 2012, which now has 12 feeds and is the largest ad-supported film channel in the world, available in almost 100 countries and 106 million homes outside the US. In 2016, Armstrong co-led the launch of BET Play, Viacom’s first direct-to-consumer subscription video on demand offering for adult audiences, which is available in 100 markets internationally. Under Armstrong’s guidance, BET is now available internationally in more than 72 countries and 39 million homes. Armstrong has also been instrumental in growing Spike’s distribution internationally, having working with local market leadership to launch the first Spike channel outside the US in 2015 in the UK, followed by Benelux, the Middle East, Australia, Hungary and Russia.
Armstrong first joined the company in 1998 and held a variety sales and affiliate marketing roles for brands including MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and CMT in both the New York and Chicago offices. He joined VIMN in 2011 as Senior Vice President and General Manager of BET International and Paramount Channel, having previously been at BET Networks from May 2006.
Armstrong received a B.S. in marketing from Hampton University, where he also serves on the board. He received an M.B.A. in strategy and marketing from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, where he was honored with the Distinguished Young Alumni Award in 2012. He is a member of the International Academy of Television Entertainment Arts & Sciences; former Chair for the NAMIC (National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications). Armstrong is on the Board of Directors of PRI & PRX, a recently merged public media organization and is a former Chairman of the Board for the Dance Theatre of Harlem.