Bob Bakish’s Master Plan to Think Globally – The Hollywood Reporter – Update Howl

Increasingly, Paramount wants to approach its networks, streamers and other assets with a truly global mindset. The conglomerate is working to structure reporting lines across the organization with that in mind — rather than relying on traditional regional clusters — and executives are now sharing more details about the strategy.

For example, a regular focus now is to “pilot” content from international businesses locally, such as in Britain, with a view to possible expansion into other markets, including the US. “I spoke to Ben Frow, who programs for [U.K. broadcast network] Channel 5,” Paramount CEO Bob Bakish said The Hollywood Reporter. “His thesis is … the real opportunity is a UK pilot as a stepping stone to a global franchise, not necessarily trying to launch a global franchise out of the gate,” which has often proved difficult.

He pointed to the CBS 2 season of the BBC remake ghosts. “He’s from the UK, so that’s an example, even though it wasn’t an internal example,” Bakish said. “But it’s an example of basically piloting a show, shooting it for the UK and then upscaling it. So I think that’s probably the closest opportunity. I think Ben is probably right. And the good news is that now they’re having a conversation with that goal in mind, as opposed to something happening randomly.”

“They” in this case include Pam Kaufman, President and CEO of International Markets, Global Consumer Products and Experiences, and executives overseeing the company’s major free-to-air television networks in the US (CBS), Australia (Network 10), UK (5 . channel), Argentina (Telefe) and Chile (Chilevision), who appeared during the recent “Bob Live,” Paramount’s regular series of internal employee events featuring Bakish and other executives talking about their business. Those leaders include George Cheeks, CBS president and CEO, and Paramount+ chief content officer of news and sports, Maria Kyriacou, who served as Paramount’s president of Australia, Canada, Israel and the United Kingdom but now oversees all of Paramount’s internationally produced scripts. content and its four free-to-air networks outside the US, and Dario Turovelzky, who heads Paramount’s Latin American scripted content along with Telefe and Chilevision, reporting to Kyriacou.

Bakish said that when he was the company’s international CEO — he led Viacom International Media Networks from 2011 to 2016 — senior management in the U.S. was not fully prepared for a global approach to free-to-air, cable and streaming businesses. “The big difference is that our team back then called something ‘global,’ part global, part local, but it really wasn’t. It was international and local. So I had this international layer because the US guys didn’t care about international. Today, we have an aligned leadership team and we are going global. So the time has come for us to truly achieve global leadership in free-to-air, streaming and cable combined with local execution,” Bakish described.

For the change of focus, he had a key ally in Kaufman, whom he had chosen for her new role at the end of July and who knew the new pattern from experience. “Society has historically been driven by geography. We had business in Latin America, Europe, Asia, etc. And that was a great business decision at the time. But the industry has evolved,” Kaufman said THR. “Our operating model for the consumer goods business has been truly global for years, with leaders in every key market reaching out to centralized business leaders. This structure works. It produced amazing results.”

So when she and Bakish first discussed their expanded role at the helm of international markets, “we immediately talked about bringing the same structure to our broader business to further unify the business segments and the organization together across countries and cultures.”

After all, Kaufman said that at Paramount Global, “we really value international content, and we also have our globally recognized strong franchises like Star Trek, SpongeBob, Paw Patrol, Ninja Turtles and so on that fans all over the world love and enjoy hits Yellowstone, King of Tulsa with globally acclaimed superstars like Sylvester Stallone and up-and-comers 1923. We also have amazing formats like NCIS, Calland MTV Coast franchise – these series travel well around the world and also create great local content.”

It also includes such internationally created content that will be or has traveled to the US Los Enviados by Paramount+ Mexico (which aired as Ambassadors in the US on Paramount+, with Season 1 becoming the streamer’s most-watched Spanish-language series) Gentleman in Moscow (Great Britain) a There (South Korea).

But there is room for more travel programming to different locations if managers are looking for opportunities, Kaufman said. The name of the game in the globalized and streaming age is often associated with acquisitions. “It’s all about leveraging our scale,” she said.

Throughout the industry, traditionally, “it’s been something like, ‘good luck over there in England or Australia,'” Kaufman said. THR. “Great content is now great content, no matter where it originates, and international content is more popular in the US than ever before. If the series is operating outside the US, whether it’s from the UK, Australia or Mexico, it has the ability to travel.”

This is why the company now has global business leaders. For example, Tom Ryan oversees global streaming, with executives like Paramount+ international head Marco Nobili and Pluto TV international head Olivier Jollet reporting to Ryan and Kaufman. Meanwhile, Cheeks runs the company’s global broadcast, with Kyriacou overseeing free-to-air networks outside the US and reporting to Cheeks and Kaufman. Chris McCarthy leads MTV’s brands and networks worldwide along with Showtime, with Kelly Bradshaw responsible for international markets. And Brian Robbins oversees Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon globally, in addition to all children’s content across streaming, with Jules Borkent responsible for Nickelodeon in international markets. “We are all working incredibly closely together to bring this unified global strategy to life,” said Kaufman.

“We’re leveraging the power of one Paramount and our global footprint to expand our reach and fulfill our mission to entertain the planet,” said Ryan. “Internationally loved franchises such as Star Trek, Top Gun and Paw Patrol they play an important role in acquiring subscribers in new markets. However, engagement and retention requires a program mix including international originals [Paramount+ this summer set the goal of commissioning 150 international originals by 2025]like Ambassadorsregionalized versions of hit series such as Challenge: War of the Worldsand local live events and sports such as the MTV EMAs and UEFA football matches.

The use of films across countries and platforms is also key. “A strong franchise is like a beacon that attracts loyal and passionate audiences around the world and can build brands and grow platforms globally,” said Brian Robbins, president and CEO of Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon and chief content officer for movies. & Kids & Family at Paramount+. “As an example of both Paw Patrol and Sound drive momentum and growth as they travel from platform to platform and market to market, expanding their reach and popularity tenfold.”

Paramount’s television operations also sought opportunities for global success. “With our new global approach, local hits can be quickly transformed into global hit franchises, allowing us to leverage our local content teams to serve as global development – ​​this new approach allows us to move faster, more efficiently and have a higher hit ratio. ” said Chris McCarthy, President/CEO of Paramount Media Networks & MTV Entertainment Studios.

But in free TV, the new approach required a big change. “Our free-to-air business is really strong,” Kaufman emphasized. “We have some of the biggest channels in the world with Chilevision, Telefe, Channel 5, Network 10 and of course CBS. However, they were very different in the way content was issued and decisions made. So we unified our unpaid business under George Cheeks, one of the best leaders in the business. His role is not only to drive the business globally, but also to ensure that we are focused on how we share our content and resources.”

Explained Cheeks: “We are creating a framework and strategy for our five free-to-air networks to work together across entertainment, news and sports to scale more content with a local focus and global potential. We are focused on global IP development, franchise expansion, production centers and content joint acquisitions to name just a few areas.”

Bakish praised his leaders for being ready and eager to take such a global view. “Right now we’re looking at the amazing show that’s coming out in Argentina and determining what other countries and platforms we can bring it to,” Kaufman said, without elaborating. “This kind of content migration is a priority. Everyone is holding on Squid game as the gold standard. We have incredible international dramas coming up and our intention is to bring more of them to Paramount+ in more markets.”

When asked about the benefits of creating content that can travel beyond individual markets as Paramount expands its international original production, the Paramount CEO explained, “We’ll have an idea and we know it has another iteration, and we plan to. You plan for success.”

Bakish said THR however, that it would take a little longer for these efforts to bear full fruit. “It’s pretty cool,” he said. “But in two years we’ll look back on it and it will be very cool.”

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