Why Paramount+ Won’t Compete On Content Alone

September 28, 2020
September 28, 2020 Kate Neale

Why Paramount+ Won’t Compete On Content Alone

Ever since someone thought ‘outside the box‘ to stream video online, pioneers in the field have been scrambling to stake their claim. It’s interesting to me when industry observers evaluate big players in the game, such as Network 10/CBS (rebranding as Paramount+ in 2021), ostensibly on their content, because Paramount+ won’t compete on content alone. Content is ubiquitous and easily supplantable, which is why leaders eg. Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Roku et al., each has its distinct value proposition that sits alongside their content.

Netflix has an established international ad-free VOD subscription model that funds a library of original content. Disney has a decades-old trusted family-friendly brand, with a global footprint of theme parks and a deep back catalogue of kids and family classics. Amazon has a worldwide shopping and distribution network that uses streaming video as a conduit to advertise to customers. Roku has software and technology that offers access to thousands of free, ad-supported or subscription channels across numerous content genres via OTT or CTV. Samsung has smart TV’s in hundreds of millions of households, and Apple TV may one day use its global footprint of devices connected to ‘the mother ship’ to become the central entry point for consumers to ALL content.

CBS Paramount logoWhile Paramount+ will undoubtedly have a compelling content catalogue in its own right, any organisation with Viacom/CBS/Paramount’s resources and assets certainly has the potential to carve its unique positioning and value proposition. With 425 channels including many established brands like MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Studios, the content catalogue and talent, Simon & Schuster publishing, 4.3 billion subscribers across 180 countries etc., they have a formidable presence. After all, the consumers and advertisers value above content such as convenience, connectivity, culture, choice, privilege, character… These and more could be a starting point for launching a unique and challenging to assail position.

The local FTA broadcasters’ response to the streaming revolution is to follow the existing linear broadcast model, creating multiple digital channels under different sub-brands, with linear programming based on niche market segments and program schedule. In my view, this strategy is shortsighted and ultimately has the effect of diluting their brand presence. In the process of accessing any of the FTA broadcast digital channels, viewers are exposed to a menu of many other tempting alternative sources of content. Perhaps a bolder, longer-term strategy might have served them better.

As we advance, the pioneers in streaming TV will be those who can use their strategic commercial advantage to feed creative initiatives to delight viewers and offer a value that suits the desires of a substantial volume of consumers on a global basis.

For those who know how to look past money and content as the primary resource and assets, Paramount+ has a world of compelling opportunity before it. The market has barely begun to exploit the technologies on offer that meld with content and smart TV’s. Technology is giving content the ability to deliver new viewer experiences and more control over their viewing experience than ever before. Technology will be at least as important as content in the years ahead in establishing a position of advantage for streaming media companies.

So if you think this land grab is all about content, I’d say you’d be mistaken. I’d suggest a look under the hood and an attitude that conjures the possibilities available to a conglomerate of this kind. This is streaming – think outside the box...

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