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ViacomCBS and South Korean entertainment powerhouse CJ ENM have unveiled a strategic partnership that will “bring premium entertainment to audiences worldwide with a comprehensive global deal that includes co-productions for original series and films, content licensing and distribution across ViacomCBS’ and CJ ENM’s leading streaming services.”
Under the pact, streaming service Paramount+ will debut in South Korea in 2022 as an exclusive bundle with TVING, CJ ENM’s streaming service, marking its first entry to the Asian market, the companies said on Tuesday. CJ ENM recently agreed to acquire Endeavour Content, supercharging its Hollywood ambitions.
ViacomCBS and CJ ENM said they would “leverage their combined global reach, production capabilities, world-renowned intellectual property (IP) and hit-making pedigree to deliver key synergy opportunities across both companies.”
Among the areas of collaboration, Paramount Television Studios and CJ ENM/Studio Dragon will co-develop and co-produce English-language scripted series based on CJ ENM/Studio Dragon’s titles for Paramount+. The companies will also co-develop and co-finance movies for theatrical and streaming releases “with the plan to distribute one theatrical movie a year in various territories.” And ViacomCBS and TVING will co-finance new Korean series for global distribution on Paramount+.
Also part of the deal is an agreement for Paramount+ to license Korean-language series from CJ ENM’s library. And ViacomCBS’ advertising-supported streaming service Pluto TV will launch a CJ ENM-branded channel on Dec. 14 that will feature K-content for U.S. audiences.
“Korean entertainment has become a cultural juggernaut with unprecedented demand, and CJ ENM is behind some of the biggest international hits that transcend borders, including Academy Award-winning film Parasite,” said Dan Cohen, president, global distribution group at ViacomCBS. “We are excited to partner with CJ ENM to deliver world-class content that will captivate our collective audiences, expand our intercontinental footprint and accelerate the growth of our streaming services with this powerful collaboration.”
“CJ ENM is growing into a global leading entertainment company in accordance with chairman Lee Jay-Hyun’s vision of expanding CJ’s presence on a global level,” said Kang Ho-Sung, CEO of CJ ENM. “CJ ENM’s vast library of original IP will create synergy with ViacomCBS’ production capabilities and distribution channels to develop into global smash-hit content.”
“We are focused on the rapid expansion of Paramount+ in markets around the world,” added Raffaele Annecchino, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International. “Our strategic partnership with TVING enables us to accelerate Paramount+ subscriber growth while bringing more premium content to audiences in this important market.”
ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish touted the CJ ENM deal during a virtual investor conference on Tuesday, saying the bundling of streaming offerings would give consumers “the best of local with the best of global, and we think that helps both of us.” It also “for sure accelerates our plans in Asia” where the company hasn’t had major plans for streaming near-term, he said. “You shouldn’t be surprised if you see us do some other things there as well.”
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