At a recent event in Cannes, Bob Bakish, the CEO of Paramount Global, emphasized the significance of modern local and regional content licensing agreements. This discussion occurred during a comprehensive Q&A session after Bakish, a long-serving executive at Viacom, was honored as Mipcom’s Personality of the Year.
During this session, Bakish addressed rumors about Paramount’s financial stability, asserting that claims suggesting they were solely rescued due to industry strikes were exaggerations. He also expressed optimism that the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike would soon be resolved.
Paramount Global’s recent partnership with the Greek pay TV service Cosmote TV was an intriguing point in the discussions. Bakish highlighted this deal as a representation of a market shift. While many major Hollywood studios had been reserving their content to feed their budding streaming platforms, Paramount Global remained more flexible in its sales strategy. Bakish showcased the Cosmote TV deal as an indicator of Paramount’s tailored approach to global content sales and distribution. He mentioned that this marks a pivotal progression in the content licensing sector. We see it as the beginning of many such ventures.
Much of the conversation was centered around how Paramount navigated the shift from conventional cable to managing its subscription streaming and free ad-supported platforms like Paramount+ with Showtime and Pluto TV. Bakish stated that evaluating the company’s success based on linear vs. digital media might not be the most accurate assessment. Whether dealing traditionally in a market like Greece or venturing into deeper streaming collaborations like they did in South Korea, the ultimate objective remains consistent: to position Paramount as a global content distributor.
Being an integral member of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), Bakish didn’t divulge much about the current SAG-AFTRA strike situation. However, he did express hope for a positive resolution soon, emphasizing the need for everyone to resume work. The strike had implications for Paramount’s content deliveries, including shows like ‘Elsbeth’ and ‘Matlock.’
Currently, Paramount is in a phase that Bakish describes as the “peak investment” year for the Paramount+ streaming service. Despite facing streaming losses, the company remains optimistic about its projected earnings growth by 2024. While the industry-wide strikes presented some short-term financial reprieve, Bakish denied claims that the company solely relied on this for its economic sustenance. He said It’s an oversimplification to say the strike was our savior. We had no intention of being part of a strike.
In conclusion, Bakish emphasized the company’s eagerness to resolve the strike situation and get everyone back to their respective roles, dismissing the exaggerated claims that the strike was a financial lifeline. Source