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Speaking at the Bank of America Securities 2022 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference Wednesday, Robbins said of all the Paramount Pictures-owned platforms, which include its movie studio, streaming platform, Paramount+, linear channels and free TV service, theatrical releases still have “the greatest impact” on a title’s success.
“Theatrical still has the greatest impact. That sort of theatrical release, 45 days later to streaming, that’s working beautifully,” Robbins said.
His comments come after Top Gun: Maverick became the biggest film in the history of Paramount Pictures. The film remains in theaters, due to continued demand, and was released digitally at the end of August, which Robbins said, helped boost interest in theaters and will help support the release of the film on Paramount+ this year.
Still, Robbins noted that it wasn’t just the company’s action films that brought in audiences, with Jackass Forever, Scream, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and The Lost City all becoming top films for the studio this year and bringing diverse demographics to the theater, underlining his case for theatrical.
With theatrical in mind, Robbins said the company plans to have eight releases this year and 10 to 12 next year, with the hopes of getting to 12 to 15 later on. The challenge in reaching that threshold is the availability and willingness of talent, among other factors, but Robbins said he believes stars are coming back to theatrical studios over streaming platforms due to the marketing campaigns surrounding big releases.
Robbins also credits the marketing around a big film for raising widespread awareness and increasing its value as it transfers to each of the company’s platforms.
“The path to monetization now is greater,” he said.
The movement from linear to streaming has also helped create a banner year for consumer products at the company, with Paramount seeing boosts in products related to franchises such as Paw Patrol.
In addition to becoming an additional potential revenue stream, Paramount+, which is competing against streaming giants such as Netflix and Disney+, but has continued to grow its subscriber numbers, provides the company with valuable information on viewer demographics and what kind of content each group wants to watch.
He added that streaming content as another potential resource for the film studio. Paramount still conducts test screenings for all of its movies, including Smile, an upcoming horror film that was originally slated for a streaming release. The film scored “crazy well” in testing, Robbins said, and was therefore moved to a theatrical release later this month.
Paramount+ was recently chosen as the streaming partner for Walmart’s subscription service. Asked how the Paramount+ content offerings are different from other platforms, Robbins referred back to that partnership.
“The Paramount+ content is really for everybody and kind of stands for what that Walmart customer stands for,” he said.
He added that he believes that partnership will be “very robust,” and will include a marketing campaign set to commence next week.
Still, as many other companies have mentioned in recent reports, Robbins noted that the advertising space appears “challenged” in the second half of the year into next.
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