Breaking News

Paramount Plus Still Detecting Paramount Plus

Paramount Plus Still Detecting Paramount Plus

Paramount Plus celebrated its first birthday yesterday. During its first year, the service introduced a SpongeBob movie, added original shows like 1883, and occasionally surprised us with specials like the second season of Evil, which was originally a CBS exclusive show. Plus, Paramount Plus managed to swipe the much-anticipated live-action Halo series — due out earlier this month — from sister service Showtime.

But a year after its launch, Paramount Plus is still grappling with an identity crisis: The streaming service has yet to prove why we should care beyond Paramount Plus's massive Star Trek catalog and Yellowstone obsession. So far, it looked like Paramount struggled to find the sweet spot between advancing its existing business arms, while also investing in its tentpole streaming service.

“I think they are afraid to make tough choices. That is something that stays with me,” Andrew A. Rosen, PARQOR founder and a former Viacom digital media executive, tells The Verge. “Basic questions like these who are not unreasonable to ask that they do not have the answers."

Many of those questions pertain to Paramount Plus's hitherto unusual content strategy -- a sort of anti-Netflix approach. When the service was rebranded from CBS All Access in March of 2021, it promised to serve up a "mountain of content," bringing all of Paramount's assets under one roof. Live sports, live news and entertainment, and a backlog of programming from BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, and the Smithsonian Channel - CBS All Access's obvious "fans" promised even more to watch . Appeal to a wider audience as well.

The problem is that some of the content owned by Paramount (ie ViacomCBS) that drives viewers to the service is not available to stream there. South Park, for example, is currently live on HBO Max after the streamer won a bidding war for the series two years ago. Another popular Paramount title, Yellowstone, currently premieres new episodes on the Paramount Networks cable channel and, unsurprisingly, Peacock.

Tanya Giles, Chief Programming Officer for Streaming at Paramount, pretty loosely explained the recent Yellowstone issue. That said, according to Deadline, at the time—ViacomCBS "had content licensing deals before [Paramount Plus] was even thought of and our solution, our great solution, was to create a wider universe of Yellowstone by bringing in 1883, its prequel." , especially for [Paramount Plus]." Its licensing business undoubtedly generates short-term profits, but it doesn't jive well with its long-term streaming strategy.

This leaves Paramount Plus in a bind. It has some catchy names to date like Star Trek and the SpongeBob spinoff. But against services like Disney Plus and Netflix, which regularly debut a ton of new originals and are dumping billions in content for their platforms, the question becomes: Where are Paramount Plus' other lucrative originals? Where is its Stranger Things or WandaVision?

“Across the board, they have one of the best libraries,” says Julia Alexander, a senior strategy analyst at Parrot Analytics and a former reporter for The Verge. "The point is, they don't have any high-acquisition titles. All their high-acquisition titles are elsewhere."

Paramount Plus has decades of crime procedural, comedy, and children's programming—all of which are good enough—but Paramount Plus doesn't have its own Stranger Things moment yet, positioning itself in earnest as a streaming competitor. can help bring it in. , Alexander says that even with that great back catalog of franchise programming, to remain competitive, Paramount Plus needs to take the chance that another of its shows could be the next Yellowstone and therefore to Paramount Plus to bring in new customers. should remain.

To its credit, the company seems to realize that when ViacomCBS launched Paramount Plus a year ago, its content and licensing strategies weren't going to work if it wanted to operate a successful streaming business. The company underwent a major executive restructuring last summer, and Paramount boss Bob Buckish said during a recent earnings event that the company plans to take back some of its older titles, including South Park, in the coming years — indicating That Paramount does, at least immediately, plan to remain competitive in the streaming space.

At the same time, Paramount is starting to fix its flashy content problem. The service will debut several highly anticipated titles this month, including Star Trek: Picard and Halo; It also recently teased the upcoming projects of Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan. And the company last offered a bundle with Showtime, at $12 per month for Essentials and $15 per month for Premium, is a hell of a steal for the two premium services, which cost $5 and $30, respectively. . 11 per month costs between.

Some of this will take time. South Park will not be in service until 2025, and will take a minute to satisfy hunger for Yellowstone projects. Until then, the service will have to stick to its back catalog and the occasional big name.

“They haven’t created a Netflix competitor, but they have created something that is useful to fans of their different types of content around the world — and they have real audiences around the world,” Rosen says. "To claim that they have failed is a little daunting. But at the same time, it is also an exaggeration to claim that they have found a competitor to Netflix."

Paramount Plus is on the rise. The service reported 32.8 million subscribers on its most recent earnings call. (Disney Plus, which launched in 2019, had about 73 million paid subscribers in its first year.) Alexander also says it's too early to write off Paramount Plus, adding that it will take six months for Paramount to see its effects. will take longer than This can take up to eight months. Developing business strategy.
"I think it's too early to discount Paramount Plus, just as it's too early to discount any of them," Alexander says. "They're all still trying to figure it out."

Even with a lousy content strategy out of the gate, Paramount Plus has shown it has value in the streaming space. It's just to prove to us that it's worth sticking around.

No comments