CANNES – Showtime and CBS Studios Intl. aim to take Showtime’s sales worldwide to a whole new level, Showtime Networks’ David Nevins, and Armando Nuñez at CBS Global Distribution Group said at a Mipcom keynote Tuesday. That will come about, they argued, by their pushing “addictive TV.”
The new bar was set by Canada’s Bell Media in a landmark deal this January, in an upgrade of its SVOD offer. Via the pact, Bell Media committed to air Showtime-owned first run series programming, as well as almost its entire catalog of scripted and unscripted series, documentaries, and specials, on its premium TV streaming service, CraveTV, as well as its leading pay television service, The Movie Network (TMN).
“All of our shows have tended to be in different places in each territory. And the brand strength of Showtime in the U.S. has been at an all-time high. Canada, being just over the border, is the first place where there was very high awareness of Showtime, andit was very valuable to Bell Media to upgrade its SVOD service saying: We are the home of Showtime,'” said Nevins.
“The next phase of our growth is to put those shows together and make Showtime start to mean something around the world in the same way it means something in North America, ” he added.
Three factors may well help Showtime’s move into what Nuñez called “portfolio” deals: Showtime’s drive into original production; the power of its line-up; international markets craving for what Nevins and Nuñez called “addictive TV.”
Built up by Nevins over the last five years, 75% of Showtime’s content is now made up of own-content original shows, said Nuñez. Showtime launched its HBO Now-like broadband service this July, via a standalone app, available for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV and online. It also started selling subscriptions over the Internet.
“Our base business has never been stronger in the U.S., but I think a lot of our growth in the coming years is going to come through the broadband-only homes,” Nevins said.
As for the state of the market, Nuñez was asked whether the demand for great content was growing.
“Are you kidding me? This is a great time to be in the premium content business. There are challenges, but there are more opportunities than challenges,” came Nuñez’s riposte.
Nevins said he had a taste for “addictive TV.” “That’s now become a very hot part of the market as SVOD services are now waking up, as the traditional premium television in each market is now having to compete against the SVOD services, there’s demand for that kind of addictive programming. It sells subscriptions better than anything.”
Starring Damian Lewis as a suave hedge-fund supremo and Paul Giamatti as a hard-driving attorney, episode 2 of new Showtime series “Billions” (pictured) world premiered at Mipcom.
CBS Studios International, which Nuñez heads, now fires on three large cylinders: CBS Television Studios, CBS Television Distribution as well as Showtime.
Pushing its line-up, CBS Studiuos Intl. announced Monday that “Limitless,” a TV series spinoff of the movie with Bradley Cooper – but now starring Jake McDorman in the TV series – has clinched major territory sales, including U.K. (Sky Living), Germany (ProSiebenSat.1 Group), Italy (Raidue) and Latin America (TBS).
As legacy linear deals expiring at TV operators, new opportunities will arise to strike portfolio deals of Showtime content and branding, Nuñez argued.