Paramount Signs ‘Multi-Picture Deal’ With Netflix

Paramount Pictures CEO Jim Gianopulos on a Nov. 16 earnings call with analysts revealed the studio has signed a multi-picture movie deal with Netflix.

Speaking on parent company Viacom Inc.’s fourth-quarter earnings call, Gianopulos told analysts, “Our priority is to expand our role as a global content supplier. As such, we are exploring various new revenue streams in addition to our traditional theatrical releases, as a producer of first run films and television for other media platforms. Our first such partnership is with Netflix on a multi-picture deal, which we are very excited about.”

Pressed for more details during the Q&A portion of the call by analyst Rich Greenfield, Gianopulos indicated Paramount is more interested in partnering with existing streaming services and providing them with content instead of trying to compete with them head-on.

“We [have] had a long relationship with Netflix on the licensing side,” Gianopulos said. “We’ve known them, the senior management, for many years. This represents an incremental revenue stream that we’re really excited about.

“And we have more capacity for great production than the theatrical systems can accommodate. While that remains our core business, we are very happy to work with the likes of Netflix, Amazon and others as new partners and customers. It’s an incremental business with a small number of titles. We sell to them when and where it makes sense, both in the context of the original film deal that we just did, as well as the ongoing relations that we have been in television and downstream exploitation of library deals that we do around the world with all of them essentially.

“You look at their spend — Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Apple in 2018 [spent] over $20 billion. And while they have increased their internal capabilities, they are looking for great properties and we have great IP, great development, great creative relationships and potential to develop them. So that evolved into a discussion with Netflix coming out of some of our recent film relationships with them. And so, we’re looking at properties that are suitable for them and that we can produce. And … really in some ways it’s just an evolution from a historic practice when studios were making MOWs for the networks and we view it as such.”

Since the former 20th Century Fox studio chief took over at Paramount in March 2017, the studio has been on an upswing thanks to such theatrical hits as A Quiet Place and Mission Impossible: Fallout. Indeed, the latter film helped Viacom — which also owns Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and BET, among other properties — beat profit and revenue expectations in the quarter ended Sept. 30.

Gianopulos addressed Paramount’s turnaround as well, telling analysts on the call, “In the past 18 months, Paramount has undergone a massively successful transformation. Rebuilding Paramount started with strengthening our content engine. It meant augmenting our development and production capabilities to service our slate strategy of making a blend of movies for specific audiences and for broad global audiences. Simply put, we make films for someone or we make films for everyone.”

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