Paramount is the latest studio to plant its flag in the ground at French TV drama festival Series Mania, where international CEO Raffaele Annecchino broke down the company’s international distribution and SVOD strategy.
In a keynote moderated by Variety’s Italy and West Asia correspondent Nick Vivarelli, Annecchino detailed plans to focus internationally on premium SVOD service Paramount Plus and FAST offering Pluto TV, which has more than 64 million monthly users. Also in the mix to “compete with our ecosystem,” according to Annecchino, is Paramount’s JV with Comcast, SkyShowtime, which is launching in 20 European markets where Paramount Plus won’t be available.
By the end of 2022, both Paramount Plus and SkyShowtime will be in more than 60 markets in Europe. Paramount Plus will also expand into South Korea later this year in partnership with CJ ENM, and in other Asian markets as well as Africa and West Asia (the region formerly known as the Middle East) in 2023.
Rather than one sweeping international launch, Annecchino said the company is opting for a market-by-market approach that “allows us to expand into new markets quickly and economically, with enormous potential.” For countries like France, U.K., Italy and Germany, the business will provide a “hard bundle” model with Paramount Plus, while SkyShowtime allows Paramount to enter other European markets at a lower cost.
Unlike WarnerMedia’s HBO Max team, which appears to be aggressively courting European drama producers at Series Mania, Annecchino didn’t reveal any sort of content strategy or wish list for Paramount Plus.
The exec highlighted premium shows like “Halo” and “The First Lady” as flagship titles heading to the platform. (The latter Showtime series starring Viola Davis, Gillian Anderson and Michelle Pfeiffer will premiere internationally on the platform in two weeks.) He also reiterated plans to launch 50 Paramount Plus international scripted originals in 2022. As revealed by Variety, these include “A Gentleman in Moscow” and a “Sexy Beast” prequel series, as well as “NCIS Sydney,” Misan Harriman’s “Protests & Progress” and docuseries “Not a Bride.”
Paramount has also just struck a deal with French studio powerhouse Gaumont, with a number of titles announced as part of the three-year partnership.
Asked how the service differs from its competitors, Annecchino underlined the company’s breadth of content; a broader streaming model that spans a well-established FAST offering in Pluto TV as well as the new SVOD service; a global portfolio of linear networks like Channel 5 in the U.K., Network 10 in Australia and Telefe in Latin America; and teams in 30 markets around the world as well as 12 international studios.