Paramount CFO: Cross-Platform Content Distribution Upping Streaming, Linear TV Viewership

When Paramount Global re-released the popular “Yellowstone” drama on the CBS Network last September, due in part to the Hollywood labor strikes impacting content production, the Keven Costner-starrer generated an unexpected 7 million viewers, according to CFO Naveen Chopra.

Speaking March 6 at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco, Chopra said the ratings underscored management’s renewed interest in cross-platform distribution aimed at driving Paramount+ subscribers while sustaining legacy TV viewership.

Chopra said streaming has become a balancing act between the volume and cadence of new content, which is used to drive consumers into catalog programming, which he said is significantly less expensive, and therefore more efficient to distribute.

Specifically, Chopra said Paramount+ aims to offer one-to-two original new programs on the platform every time anyone logs onto the service. He said offering double that amount in new content is ineffective and more expensive.

“It’s about the right volume of originals … and all about engaging consumers, while continuing to bring in new subscribers,” he said.

As a result, Paramount is eyeing the cross-platform distribution of Sylvester Stallone’s “Tulsa King” on both streaming and linear TV, following the release of the streaming-first series “1883” last June on the Paramount Network about two years after its debut on Paramount+.

“It ended up being a very interesting experiment … generating a lot more viewers than you would expect,” Chopra said.

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Indeed, the CFO said the “Yellowstone” prequel’s run on pay-TV, starring Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, jumpstarted additional consumer interest in Paramount+, as well as the platform’s related programming by the show’s creator Taylor Sheridan.

This year, Paramount will re-release the first season of “Tulsa King” on CBS, just prior to the launch of season two on Paramount+.

“There’s a lot of synergies that can be unlocked by effectively windowing content,” Chopra said. “I think you are going to see a lot more of that.”

‘Yellowstone’ Final Episodes to Bow November 2024 on Paramount Network

The concluding installment of the Paramount Network series “Yellowstone” has been moved to November 2024.

Originally slated to premiere later this year, the six-episode second-half of the fifth season of “Yellowstone” saw a shift in production schedules due to the actor and writer strikes.

“Yellowstone” chronicles the Dutton family who controls the largest contiguous cattle ranch in the United States. Amid shifting alliances, unsolved murders, open wounds, and hard-earned respect — the ranch is in constant conflict with those it borders — an expanding town, an Indian reservation, and vicious business rivalries.

The “Yellowstone” saga will also continue to grow with two additional spinoffs, which have been given the working titles of “1944” and “2024.” Previous spinoffs have included the prequels “1883” and “2023.”

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“Yellowstone” was created by Taylor Sheridan and John Linson, and is produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and 101 Studios.

“Within five years, we grew Yellowstone from a hit U.S. cable show with five million viewers into a global hit franchise with over 100 million fans around the world and multiple extensions — and, we’re just getting started,” Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of Showtime and MTV Entertainment Studios, said in a statement.

Episodes of “Yellowstone” are available for streaming on Universal’s Peacock following airing on the Paramount Network. The “1883” and “2023” prequels debuted on Paramount+.

The “2024” series is reportedly a continuation of the main show, with star Kevin Costner’s lead character replaced by a new character to be played by Matthew McConaughey.

 

‘Yellowstone: Season 5, Part 1’ Dominates DVD and Blu-ray Sales Charts

Paramount Home Entertainment’s Yellowstone: Season 5, Part 1 easily debuted at No. 1 on the Circana VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended May 13.

This is the first time a TV title has topped the disc sales charts since Yellowstone: Season 4 spent three weeks in the top spot in March 2022.

It was recently announced that the fifth season of the Paramount Network series, which stars Kevin Costner as a Montana rancher, would end after the second batch of season five episodes that will air starting in November. After that the show will be replaced by a new sequel series from creator Taylor Sheridan.

The No. 2 seller on both charts was another newcomer, Universal’s Knock at the Cabin, which sold about 25% as many copies as the top title. The latest film from director M. Night Shyamalan, about a vacationing family taken hostage by armed strangers who demand they make a choice to avert the apocalypse, earned $35.4 million at the domestic box office.

The previous week’s stop seller, Paramount’s 80 for Brady, slipped to No. 3 on both charts in its second week on shelves. Lionsgate’s faith-based Jesus Revolution fell to No. 4 on both charts in its third week.

No. 5 on the overall disc sales chart was RLJ Entertainment’s Children of the Corn remake from Shudder, based on the Stephen King novel about a society of children who ritualistically murder adults. It was No. 7 on the Blu-ray chart.

The No. 5 Blu-ray seller was Crunchyroll’s anime movie Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, which was No. 25 on the overall disc chart.

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The week’s top 4K Ultra HD disc seller was Warner’s Superman 1978-1987 5-Film Collection, the new boxed set of the theatrical cuts of all four Christopher Reeve Superman films, plus the Richard Donner director’s cut of Superman II. It was No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart. (Warner’s history of releasing boxed sets with differing configurations of the “Superman” films seems to have generated some confusion, as the 2013 DVD boxed set of the four Reeve films and 2006’s Superman Returns, but without the Superman II theatrical cut, seems to have received a significant bump during the week, raising a question as to whether these different versions should be lumped into the same listing despite being different configurations of the films — combined, they are No. 8 overall, whereas separately, the 2013 DVD would be No. 17, and the new 4K set would be No. 26).

On the 4K chart, the “Superman” set edged out Knock at the Cabin, which had 55% of its total disc sales come from Blu-ray editions — 16% from 4K and 39% from regular Blu-ray.

Blu-ray versions accounted for 20% of unit sales for the “Yellowstone” collection, and 31% for Children of the Corn.

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The Media Play News rental chart for the week ended May 14 had Knock at the Cabin at No. 1, followed by two more Universal films — Cocaine Bear at No. 2 and Champions at No. 3.

Children of the Corn was No. 4, while Lionsgate’s Plane was No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 5-13-23
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 5-14-23
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 5-13-23
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 5-13-23
Sales Report for Week Ended 5-13-23
Digital Transactions Snapshot for Week Ended 5-15-23

Peacock to Exclusively Stream Final Season of ‘Yellowstone’ Beginning May 25

Beginning on May 25, all eight episodes of the first part of the final season (five) of “Yellowstone” will be available to stream exclusively on NBCUniversal’s subscription VOD service Peacock.

The episodes of the critically-acclaimed series headlined by Kevin Costner, who plays the patriarch John Dutton of a longtime Montana cattle farmer, join all four previous seasons already available on the service.

In season five, also written by showrunner Taylor Sheridan, the Dutton family continues to fight to defend their ranch and way of life. Family secrets put strain on the Duttons, and political aspirations and outside partnerships threaten their future.

In addition to Costner, who won a Golden Globe for his performance, the cast includes Wes Bentley, Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Cole Hauser and Kelsey Asbille.

The show, which is produced by Paramount Television, also airs on the Paramount Network.

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May 9 New Releases Include ‘Knock at the Cabin,’ ‘Yellowstone’ on Disc, ‘Evil Dead Rise’ Digitally

Among the new home entertainment releases May 9 are Knock at the Cabin and Yellowstone: Season 5, Part 1 on Blu-ray and DVD, a boxed set of “Superman” movies on 4K disc, and Evil Dead Rise via digital retailers.

M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller, Knock at the Cabin, arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD  disc May 9 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.  Based on the book The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay, Knock at the Cabin follows a tight-knit family who are taken hostage by four armed strangers while vacationing at a remote cabin. The visitors, led by Dave Bautista, demand that the young girl and her parents make an unthinkable choice: to save their family or save humanity. The film stars Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Abby Quinn, Rupert Grint, and Kristen Cui in her feature film debut. The film earned $35.4 million at the domestic box office.

Yellowstone: Season 5, Part 1 arrives on DVD and Blu-ray May 9 from Paramount Home Entertainment. The release includes the first eight episodes of season five along with never-before-seen bonus content that explores the relationships between Rip and Beth and Kayce and Monica; an in-depth look at the music of “Yellowstone”; and the process of bringing the “Yellowstone” world to life.  In season five, part one, determined to protect his land and legacy at any cost, John Dutton (Kevin Costner) takes his fight to the halls of government. But with greater power comes further scrutiny of his family, his land and the morally questionable measures he’s taken to protect them both. As new threats emerge and old enemies return, John, Beth, Kayce, Rip and Jamie learn that power has a price.

Mill Creek Entertainment releases Pinnacle Peak Pictures’ faith-based film Heaven Sent on DVD and digital May 9. It follows Elise, an active and outgoing grandmother hurt by her past, and Patrick, a widowed pastor, who have both closed the door on love. But after a chance encounter, with faith and a little help from technology, their live-streamed romance might find a way. The film was directed by Joanne Hock (When We Last Spoke, Purple Dreams) and was written by, produced by and stars Karen Abercrombie (War Room, Selfie Dad). It also stars Leon Pridgen (War Room, Pursuit of Freedom), Charlene Tilton (“Dallas,” “The Middle”) and Jemarcus Kilgore (Discarded Things, Black Lightning).

As part of the year-long centennial celebration for the 100th anniversary of Warner Bros. Studio, the films starring Christopher Reeve as Superman will be available for purchase in a 4K Blu-ray boxed set May 9 from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment. The Superman 1978-1987 5-Film Collection includes all four adventures as Reeve as the iconic DC superhero — 1978’s Superman: The Movie, 1980’s Superman II, 1983’s Superman III and 1987’s Superman IV, plus Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, the re-edited director’s cut released in 2006. The boxed set will include the films on a 4K Ultra HD disc with HDR, a regular Blu-ray disc and special features in HD, and a redeemable code for a digital version of each film.

Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment will release the horror flick Evil Dead Rise for premium digital purchase and rental May 9. From New Line Cinema and Renaissance Pictures, the film, which has earned $97.8 million at the global box office, stars Lily Sullivan (I Met a Girl, TV’s “Barkskins”), Alyssa Sutherland (TV’s “New Gold Mountain,” TV’s “Vikings), Morgan Davies (TV’s “The End,” Storm Boy), Gabrielle Echols (Reminiscence) and introducing Nell Fisher (Northspur). The film was produced by longtime franchise producer Rob Tapert and executive produced by series creator Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. In Evil Dead Rise, the action moves out of the woods and into the city, and tells a twisted tale of two estranged sisters, played by Sullivan and Sutherland, whose reunion is cut short by the rise of flesh-possessing demons, thrusting them into a primal battle for survival as they face the most nightmarish version of family imaginable. The film will be available to purchase on 4K Ultra HD combo pack, Blu-ray combo pack and DVD June 27.

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Mill Creek Entertainment will release the stand-up comedy DVD Maria Bamford Stand-Up Spotlight — featuring two specials from the daytime Emmy-nominated comedian, actress and writer — on May 9. The two specials include “Weakness Is Her Brand” and “The Special Special Special.” Bamford is known for “Arrested Development,” “BoJack Horseman” and “Lady Dynamite!” and has regular guest appearances on “Big Mouth,” “Portlandia” and “SpongeBob Squarepants.” She has won awards at the American Comedy Awards and Montreal Comedy Festival and is embarking on a new tour.

The creature feature Unwelcome debuts on Blu-ray and DVD May 9 from Well Go USA Entertainment. The film is already available available for digital sellthrough. Directed by Jon Wright (Grabbers, Tormented), the film stars Hannah John-Kamen (Ant-Man and The Wasp, Ready Player One, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City), Douglas Booth (The Dirt, Jupiter Ascending), Colm Meaney (Con Air, “Star Trek” franchise) and Kristian Nairn (“Game of Thrones”). In the horror flick, a couple escapes their urban nightmare to enter the tranquility of rural Ireland only to hear stories of mysterious beings who live in the gnarled, ancient wood at the foot of their new garden. Their new neighbors warn them that in Irish lore the Redcaps will come when called to help souls in dire need of rescue, but it’s crucial to remember that there is always a dear price to pay for their aid.

The crime thriller Shackled will be released on digital May 9 from Distribution Solutions. In the film, a young woman wakes to find herself chained to the bed of an abandoned pickup truck alone in the vastness of the California desert with no memory of the events that brought her to such a state. She’s been left with only a half-empty bottle of gin, a CB radio, and a gun with two bullets. Her captor’s identity, motive, and plans for her are a mystery — one she’ll need every ounce of her fading strength and every fibre of her fraying sanity to solve. Directed by Joss Refauvelet (The Long Hollywood Night, Lovers in a Dangerous Time), the film stars Monique Rosario (Remembering Sarah), Jennifer Ball (Something Good Coming, Lovers in a Dangerous Time), Dan Franklin (Mantra, The Haunted Man) and Tyler Cole (Lovers in a Dangerous Time, Falling Sons).

GKIDS and Shout! Factory May 9 releases a Blu-ray of Unicorn Wars, Spanish, genre-bending animated feature for adults from Goya and director Alberto Vásquez (Birdboy: The Forgotten Children). The technicolor horror-comedy was featured in competition at the 2022 Annecy International Animation Film Festival, and was an official selection at BFI London, Animation Is Film, and Fantastic Fest. The film uses an outrageous candy-colored premise to explore religious zealotry, the tortured legacies of military fascism and the depths of the soul. In the plot, for ages, teddy bears have been locked in an ancestral war against their sworn enemy the unicorns with the promise that victory will complete the prophecy and usher in a new era. Aggressive, confident teddy bear Bluet and his sensitive, withdrawn brother Tubby could not be more different. As the rigors and humiliation of teddy bear bootcamp turn to the psychedelic horrors of a combat tour in the Magic Forest, their complicated history and increasingly strained relationship will come to determine the fate of the entire war.

The horror anthology Tell Me a Creepy Story will be released on digital May 9 from Trinity and Distribution Solutions. The beekeeper who accidentally kills his wife before nervously burying her body under his vegetable patch. The child born with an insatiable and increasingly inhuman appetite. The seemingly harmless couple who are serial killers and the home alone woman who is petrified someone is out to kill her. These terrifying tales come together in one anthology. The cast includes Laura Bayston (“Killing Eve,” “Doctors,” “Slow Horses”), Conleth Hill (“Game of Thrones,” “Vienna Blood,” “Magpie Murders”), Joe Sims (“Broadchurch,” “Doctor Who,” “London Kills”) and Paul Kennedy (“Marcella,” “The Fall,” “Outlander”). Directors are Samuel Dawe, Félix Dobaire, Stuart Graham, Paul Holbrook and Luke Konopasky. 

Screen Media will release the drama Dealing With Dad on digital May 9. In the film, Margaret Chang reluctantly returns to her hometown, along with her hapless brothers, to deal with the sudden depression of their jerk of a dad. As it turns out he’s nicer depressed than well, and the siblings wonder if they should even get him better as they struggle to find a solution. Written and directed by Tom Huang (Find Me, Unusual Targets), the film stars Ally Maki (Upcoming Shortcomings, “Wrecked”), Hayden Szeto (The Edge of Seventeen, “The Good Place”), Peter S Kim (“Fairfax,” Yes Day), Dana Lee (“Dr. Ken,” Birds of Prey), Page Leong (Another 48 Hrs, Argo), Echo Kellum (“Arrow,” “Key and Peele”), Karan Soni (Safety Not Guaranteed, Deadpool), Cindera Che (Tigertail, “Fresh Off the Boat”), Megan Gailey (“Pause With Sam Jay”) and Ari Stidham (“Scorpion,” Huge).

The dark comedy Employee of the Month will be released on VOD and DVD May 12 by Film Movement. In the film, after working for EcoClean — an industrial cleaning supplies company — for nearly 17 years, model-employee Inès (Jasmina Douieb) believes it’s time for a raise. Despite daily jibes from her incompetent and misogynistic co-workers (including Patrick, EcoClean’s ineffectual owner), she remains professional and dedicated to the company’s brand. When Inès confronts Patrick about her salary, he not only disparages her request but makes a lecherous pass at her. New intern Mélody (Laetitia Mampaka) witnesses this and jumps in to help, but in the process both women accidentally find themselves with blood on their hands. Spiraling more out of control by the minute, Inès and Mélody must conjure up increasingly maniacal solutions to cover their tracks — and clean up their mess. The film is directed by Veronique Jadin.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

Hub Research: Content Brands Matter in Crowded Streaming Universe

Viewers often have a hard time differentiating the brands of streaming services, and turn to known content or creative brands to help make viewing decisions, according to Hub Entertainment Research’s annual “Evolution of Video Branding” survey.

Brand awareness and brand familiarity are different. The vast sums expended on marketing during the streaming wars have been effective as all the major platforms have brand awareness above 90%, according to Hub.   

But as far as brand understanding, far fewer feel confident that they could explain to someone else what each platform does best, or how it’s different from the others. This is the case even for companies that are masters at branding, such as Apple. Almost all respondents said they were aware of Apple TV+, but fewer than half felt they understand its content offering. In the end, consumers are choosing between a well-known set of brands, without a clear understanding of what differentiates them, according to the study.

Without a clear understanding of the difference between platforms, consumers turn to other guideposts, such as program brands, according to Hub. In the study, 41% of viewers said they have signed up for a platform just to watch one specific show (up from 35% two years ago). This is even more pronounced among desirable audiences, such as young people. In the study, 57% of those age 16 to 34 said they have signed up to watch one particular show.

New shows based on familiar characters or histories have a leg up in the discovery process. In the study, 40% of all respondents said they would be more likely to watch a new show based on the Marvel universe (the highest of the 10 brands tested). But the next three highest were broadcast TV procedurals that have already had successful spinoffs.

Another example is the “Yellowstone” franchise (shows set in the world of “Yellowstone” or marketed as coming from the same creator). Among the respondents who had ever watched “Yellowstone,” almost three-fourths (70%) said they also watched at least one of Sheridan’s other shows (“1883,” “1923,” “Tulsa King” or “Mayor of Kingstown”). Perhaps most notably, viewers had to put in some effort to watch these: “Yellowstone” is on the Paramount cable network and on Peacock, while the other shows are only available on Paramount+.

“Viewers have not lacked in choice of services and content over the past few years. But this can be a two-edged sword for content providers, as the immense volume just makes it hard for viewers to remember what is different about each service,” David Tice, senior consultant to Hub and co-author of the study, said in a statement. “But at the end of the day, content is king, and unique content will drive viewers even if the service itself isn’t unique to consumers.”

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The findings are from Hub’s 2023 “Evolution of Video Branding” report, based on a survey conducted among 2,400 U.S. consumers with broadband, age 16-74, who watch at least one hour of TV per week. Interviews were conducted in February 2023 and explored attitudes towards brands associated with traditional TV service as well as those providing streaming TV service. A free excerpt of the findings is available on Hub’s website.

Netflix Nabs Six Spots on Reelgood’s Weekly Top 10 Streaming Chart

The heist drama “Kaleidoscope,” a new Netflix limited series, finished atop Reelgood’s weekly top 10 chart through Jan. 11. The chart uses first-party data from how its 5 million users in the U.S. interact with movies and TV shows on the platform in real time.

“Kaleidoscope” features an ensemble cast headlined by Giancarlo Esposito and Paz Vega.

Netflix again dominated the chart with the second season of the original series “Ginny & Georgia” and the new period movie The Pale Blue Eye, co-starring Christian Bale, Robert Duvall and Gillian Anderson, among others, charting for the first time.

Other podium spots included HBO Max’s restaurant thriller The Menu and season five of “Yellowstone” on the Paramount Network. Netflix’s Knives Out sequel, Glass Onion, finished in the No. 4 spot.

  1. “Kaleidoscope” (Netflix)
  2. The Menu (HBO Max)
  3. “Yellowstone” (Paramount Network/Peacock)
  4. Glass Onion (Netflix)
  5. “1923” (Paramount+)
  6. The Pale Blue Eye (Netflix)
  7. White Noise (Netflix)
  8. “Ginny & Georgia” (Netflix)
  9. “Wednesday” (Netflix)
  10. The Banshees of Inisherin (HBO Max)

JustWatch: ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once,’ ‘Yellowstone’ Topped December Streaming

The Golden Globe-winning sci-fi movie comedy Everything, Everywhere All at Once and Paramount Network/Peacock’s Montana family drama “Yellowstone” ended December as the most-streamed movie and TV show, according to new data from JustWatch, which tracks the streaming video habits of 20 million users across 59 markets, including the United States.

Everything, starring Michelle Yeoh as an aging Chinese immigrant who is swept up in an insane adventure, in which she alone can save the world by exploring other universes connecting with the lives she could have led, topped the original 2019 Knives Out movie, as well as animated winter holiday classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Among episodic programming, “Yellowstone,” headlined by Kevin Costner, beat out Netflix’s surging “Wednesday,” starring Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams from “The Addams Family,” and HBO Max’s moody beach resort-based dysfunctional family drama, “The White Lotus.”

JustWatch: ‘The Menu,’ ‘Yellowstone’ Topped Weekly Streaming Through Jan. 8

Paramount Network/Peacock Montana family drama “Yellowstone” and the dystopian restaurant thriller The Menu topped weekly TV show and movie streaming through Jan. 8, according to new data from JustWatch, which tracks the streaming video habits of 20 million users across 59 markets, including the U.S.

The Menu, featuring an ensemble cast that includes Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy, showcases a couple who discover that dining at an exclusive restaurant on a remote island has its unwanted surprises.

The movie bested two older films with new sequels, Knives Out (2019) at No. 3 and Avatar (2009) at No. 2. Among the top three episodic programs, Netflix’s “Wednesday” (No. 2) and its ensemble thriller “Kaleidoscope” (No. 3) dominated TV viewing.

‘Glass Onion,’ ‘Yellowstone Season 5’ Top Reelgood Weekly Streaming Through Jan. 4

The Netflix original sequel Glass Onion continued its charm offensive, topping weekly streaming for the week ended Jan. 4, according to new data from Reelgood, which tracks first-party data from how its 5 million users in the United States interact with movies and TV shows on the platform in real-time.

The follow-up to Lionsgate’s 2019 original Knives Out, with Daniel Craig reprising his role as eccentric Detective Benoit Blanc, has been Netflix’s No. 1 movie since debuting on the platform Dec. 23.

Glass Onion made its one-month theatrical debut on Nov. 23 as Netflix’s largest-ever box office release, generating a reported $115 million in ticket sales.

The rest of the weekly podium included Paramount Network’s season five of “Yellowstone,” and Paramount+ original series “1923,” co-starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren in the “Yellowstone” prequel.

Notably, the weekly chart featured 50% movies, including White Noise (Netflix), The Menu (HBO Max), Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount+) and The Banshees of Inisherin (HBO Max).

1. Glass Onion (Netflix)
2. “Yellowstone” Season 5 (Paramount Network)
3. “1923” (Paramount+)
4. White Noise (Netflix)
5. “Wednesday” (Netflix)
6. The Menu (HBO Max)
7. “Kaleidoscope” (Netflix)
8. Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount+)
9. “Treason” (Netflix)
10. The Banshees of Inisherin (HBO Max)