- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Paramount Global launched its streaming service Paramount+ in German-speaking Europe on Thursday, completing a major rollout across western Europe that, following last week’s Paramount+ bow in France, means the studio-backed streamer is now available in 45 markets worldwide.
Paramount is a relative late comer to the global streaming game, and its aggressive international push — next year Paramount+ plans launches across Asia, Africa and the Middle East — stands in contrast to the more cautious, cost-focused approach of established SVOD giants like Netflix and Disney+, which have tempered their ambitions amid fears of a global recession.
Marco Nobili, executive vp, international general manager at Paramount+, admits the macroeconomic timing could be better.
“I’m not going to lie: the current economic moment certainly means there have been headwinds,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “That said, in moments of economic downturns there is often a move back to more affordable entertainment, and we think our offer is well-positioned compared to other forms of entertainment.”
The Paramount+ German service is launching for 7.99 euro ($8.40) a month or 59 euro ($62.00) annually, a price point Nobili says is “incredibly good value for money” given the “mountain of entertainment” on offer, which will include U.S. hit series Yellowstone, Halo and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds; feature films including Top Gun: Maverick; and a vast library of sitcoms, dramas, animation and reality TV shows sourced from Paramount subsidies CBS, Showtime, Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon.
The conglomerate is also investing heavily in local original content, with new series including the Scottish-German crime series Chemistry of Death, the con-man dramedy The Sheik from acclaimed Swiss director Dani Levy (Go for Zucker!) and the eco-cyber thriller A Thin Line. On the reality front, Paramount+ has commissioned new episodes of Reality Shore, a spinoff of the popular MTV franchise, which will be rebranded Germany Shore.
Nobili said Paramount+ is still on target to greenlight 150 international originals by 2025 and said the group is also holding to its goal of reaching 100 million subscribers for its SVOD service by the end of 2024. He declined to break out forecasts for individual territories, but said initial take in France a week after launch was “way ahead of our expectations.”
What really sets Paramount apart from its streaming competitors, however, is its “multiplatform” approach, according to the executive. In addition to its nascent SVOD service, the studio also operates the ad-backed streamer Pluto TV in 35 markets; has international versions of its cable network stalwarts MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central; and owns several big free-to-air channels outside the U.S., including Channel 5 in the U.K., Australia’s Network 10, Telefe in Argentina and Chile’s Chilevision. Alongside that, Paramount and its U.S. network CBS are major “arms dealers,” licensing their top U.S. series to third-party free and pay-TV channels worldwide.
As Paramount+ expands internationally, the studio will be trying to build its direct-to-consumer operations without cannibalizing its traditional licensing and network business. For its European rollout, the studio was careful to partner with its traditional distributors, launching hard-bundle partnerships with Canal+ in France and Sky in the U.K., Italy and German-speaking Europe — Sky and Canal+ subscribers will get Paramount+ at no additional cost — and doing a joint holiday promotion in France with Orange, which will offer Paramount+ as part of a new bundle for its local customers.
“We’re taking a hybrid approach to different countries, to allow us to make as many countries viable as possible and to scale up very quickly,” says Nobili.
When it comes to Paramount films and series, he says the studio will look to cross-promote and share content. The second season of Network 10’s hit sitcom 5 Bedrooms premiered first on Paramount+. The first episode of Halo dropped on Channel 5 in the U.K., with the remaining episodes streaming on Paramount+. The sixth season of Spotlight, a hit German teen series that airs on Nickelodeon locally, will stream exclusively on Paramount+.
“I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all approach here,” Nobili notes, “we are going to use our platforms and work with our partners in a smart way to make 1 plus 1 equal 3.”
The coming year should show whether Paramount’s math adds up. At the UBS Global TMT Conference this week, Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish said 2023 will peak investment, and peak losses, for Paramount’s streaming platforms. Building a global multiplatform ecosystem “takes a little while,” he noted.
The big question is just how low it will take Paramount to build that ecosystem and how quickly it can make it profitable.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day