Paramount Global CFO: Separating SVOD, AVOD Strengthens the Brand

Paramount contends it can reach 100 million global subscribers by 2024, after adding 21 million subs in 2021 across both Paramount+, Showtime Anytime, and Noggin, among other services, in addition to generating $1 billion in revenue from free ad-supported streaming television service Pluto TV.

Paramount Global CFO Naveen Chopra

Speaking March 15 at the Deutsche Bank 30th Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference, CFO Naveen Chopra said management has its foot on the gas pedal transitioning Paramount+ into what he characterized is a “top-tier” streaming business model.

Chopra reiterated that Paramount+, unlike other pureplay SVOD services, would diversify its content by offering a “much wider” program selection that includes news, reality and live sports, in addition to scripted programming across the 35 countries it is operating in. By contrast, market heavyweight Netflix does not offer live sports or news.

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“So, broad content is a critical part of our strategy,” Chopra said, adding that the company has a broader strategy regarding streaming, which he said includes separating SVOD from ad-supported VOD and FAST. Paramount+ does offer a less expensive ad-supported subscription streaming option.

He said Paramount Pictures would continue to implement a “fast-follow” strategy releasing theatrical releases into digital streaming and retail channels 45 days after their box office debut. The studio will also “lean heavily” on successful franchises, which include “Paw Patrol,” “Sonic the Hedgehog,” “Transformers,” “A Quiet Place,” “Top Gun” and “Mission: Impossible,” among others.

“Without well-known IP, you’re not stuck in the mode of having launch new shows and build new audiences every single time,” Chopra said.

Paramount is also touting its relationship with Taylor Sheridan, creator of the “Yellowstone” series, and “1883” spin-off mini-series series, starring Kevin Costner, Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, among others, respectively.

“We’ve also done some very savvy things like, ‘how do you take an NFL audience and get them into that next scripted show, that’s going to make them really sticky and cause churn to decrease significantly?'” Chopra said.

The executive said Paramount aims to attract consumers that covet SVOD and AVOD separately, calling it a wider target market than most streaming platforms are focused on.

“If you want to have both free ad-supported and subscription, we think it’s important to keep those things separate,” Chopra said. “It’s very confusing to have all that in one service.”

He said that with ad-supported Pluto TV, the company has the ability to shout from the rooftop that the platform is free to consumers. By contrast, Paramount+ is marketed offering higher-quality content than FAST.

“We really like that positioning because it clarifies the value proposition in customers’ minds and allows us to address the entirety of that [total addressable market],” Chopra said.