September 14, 2021
ViacomCBS streaming platform Paramount+ may be late to the SVOD party, but the service is taking giant steps to reach scale and market penetration in the United States and worldwide.
Borrowing a strategic page from other media companies, ViacomCBS is intertwining movie and TV production, in addition to distribution, around streaming with a goal of enhancing existing linear and developing digital pathways to the consumer.
Speaking Sept. 14 at the virtual Banc of America Securities 2021 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference, CFO Naveen Chopra said Paramount Pictures’ releases would continue to be a vital component to the media company’s ability to connect with audiences.
“Movies have always had the ability to be monetized through multiple channels, and the difference today is that we have more distribution options for our films than we’ve ever had,” Chopra said. “And you’re starting to see us take advantage of that.”
Indeed, with the recent theatrical release of animated movie Paw Patrol: The Movie, ViacomCBS made the popular children’s series’ first feature film adaptation simultaneously available for free to Paramount+ subscribers.
The title has generated $92.6 million at the global box office, including $35 million in the U.S., since its Aug. 20 debut.
“Paw Patrol’s box office results actually exceeded studio expectations when we thought the movie would be an exclusive theatrical release [pre-pandemic],” Chopra said. “The simultaneous release on P+ was very synergistic. The streaming release definitely helped drive awareness and interest in seeing the movie in the theater. And the theatrical release did a lot to [market] the movie on Paramount+, and really drove it very quickly to become the most-watched originals we have released on the service.”
The CFO said the streaming service also enhanced the movie requisite ties with consumer products and toys entering the winter holiday period. That said, Chopra reiterated that incorporating streaming with theatrical is not a “one-size fits all” approach.
He said the box office sequel A Quiet Place Part II realized an exclusive 45-day theatrical window before streaming on Paramount+, while titles such as Infinite and the pending new “Paranormal Activity” release will debut on the SVOD platform.
“What we’re doing is looking at our films on a case-by-case basis, and we’re trying to optimize, based on the specifics of the movie, other constituents that are involved, and the realities of the pandemic,” Chopra said. “We’re trying to make the best decisions for each of those movies, and so far, I think it has worked very well.”
Indeed, major box office releases Top Gun: Maverick and Mission: Impossible 7, both starring Tom Cruise, have been further delayed into 2022.
“The fact is, the theatrical environment is still very dynamic, and very different in different parts of the world,” Chopra said. “And in order to really maximize the value of those assets, it makes sense to wait.”