Advanced Television

Paramount new leadership; streaming losses narrow

April 30, 2024

The Board of Directors of Paramount Global has announced that – as expected – Bob Bakish, President and CEO, is stepping down from his role as CEO and from the Board of Directors.

To lead and oversee the company moving forward, Paramount Global has established an Office of the CEO, consisting of three senior company executives: George Cheeks, President and CEO of CBS; Chris McCarthy, President and CEO, Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks; and Brian Robbins, President and CEO of Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon. Cheeks, McCarthy and Robbins will work closely with Naveen Chopra, CFO, and the Board of Directors.

The Office of the CEO says it “is working with the Board to develop a comprehensive, long-range plan to accelerate growth and develop popular content, materially streamline operations, strengthen the balance sheet, and continue to optimise the streaming strategy”.

Shari Redstone, Chair of the Board, commented: “Paramount Global includes exceptional assets and we believe strongly in the future value creation potential of the Company. I have tremendous confidence in George, Chris and Brian. They have both the ability to develop and execute on a new strategic plan and to work together as true partners. I am extremely excited for what their combined leadership means for Paramount Global and for the opportunities that lie ahead.”

The Board of Directors added: “The creation of the Office of the CEO will enable the Company to accelerate growth and strengthen operations. We look forward to working with George, Chris and Brian as they execute on key initiatives to enhance performance and value creation at Paramount Global.”

Bakish joined Viacom in 1997 and took on roles of increasing seniority across the Company’s operations, becoming CEO of Viacom in 2016 and the CEO of the combined company in 2019. Redstone said: “The Board and I thank Bob for his many contributions over his long career, including in the formation of the combined company as well as his successful efforts to rebuild the great culture Paramount has long been known for. We wish him all the best.”

Meanwhile, it announcing its Q1 results, the company revealed that streaming service Paramount+ increased revenues by 51 per cent YoY and reached over 71 million global subscribers, up from 67.5 million at the end of Q4. Paramount also decreased streaming loss to $286 million (€266.6m) in Q1, a significant improvement over a $511 million loss in Q1 2023.

DTC revenue climbed by 24 per cent to $1.87 billion, as advertising and subscription revenues both rose, driven primarily by both AVoD service Pluto TV and Paramount+. TV revenue grew 1 per cent to $5.2 billion.

Total company revenue increased by 6 per cent to $7.69 billion, slightly down on estimates.

Naveen Chopra, Parmount EVP and CFO, commented: “The team delivered another quarter of strong operational and financial performance — including significant growth in total company earnings and free cash flow — despite the dynamic environment we continue to operate in. It was a record-setting quarter for Paramount+ in engagement and revenue, and in the DTC segment as we continued to substantially narrow streaming losses. And CBS dominated with its powerful combination of sports and the return of a delayed fall slate that launched to massive audiences. As we look ahead, we remain focused on execution and transforming our cost base to best position Paramount for the future”.

Commenting on the results, Dan Goman, Ateliere CEO, said: “Paramount’s Q1 earnings performance highlights both opportunities and challenges within the dynamic streaming landscape. Most notably making recent headlines, the potential merger with Skydance suggests a strategic repositioning, aiming to strengthen Paramount’s portfolio with high-quality content that could enhance its competitive stance in a crowded market and enhance Paramount’s capabilities in producing and offering blockbuster films and acclaimed TV series on Paramount+. This move is a strategic effort to amplify Paramount’s content offerings in both traditional and streaming formats, potentially improving its market share and appeal to a diverse viewer base.”

“The recent introduction of international ad-tier subscriptions broadens Paramount’s market reach outside of the US, attracting cost-conscious consumers with more accessible price points and tapping into new ad revenue streams. Introducing ad-tiers will capture global markets, reaching new demographics and analysing consumer engagement habits. By integrating ads, Paramount will build valuable partnerships with advertisers looking to reach international audiences while increasing its global footprint. A key emphasis on providing original content and live sports such as The Masters Tournament and National Women’s Soccer League are drivers of subscriber growth and consumer engagement on streaming platforms. The company’s ability to enhance its original programming and secure compelling live sports rights will be decisive in its efforts to compete with industry giants and attract a global audience, ultimately improving its bottom line.”

“Additionally, Bob Bakish, Paramount CEO, is stepping down today, signaling a pivot in Paramount’s overall corporate strategy and governance. New leadership may bring a fresh perspective on addressing the challenges of digital transformation in the entertainment industry as we move away from traditional cable and legacy media. This change could catalyse a more aggressive push into streaming and technology, and an increase in direct-to-consumer services, areas where Paramount must evolve to remain competitive with streaming giants like Netflix, Hulu and Prime Video,” Gorman concluded.

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