15 SEP 2020

NATPE STREAMING PLUS DAY 2: OTT GROWTH, PROGRAMMING, AND REBRANDING PROCESSES

Day two of the virtual event unveiled information about ViacomCBS’ programming and marketing tactics, the re-branding of its streaming service, CBS All Access, and the strategies behind this year's growth of Philo of Roku.

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The second day of NATPE Virtual Streaming Plus” covered ViacomCBS’ programming and marketing strategies, the rebranding of its streaming service, CBS All Access, which will soon be named Paramount Plus, and the strategies behind the growth of Philo of Roku during the last few quarters.

Alongside EVP and Head of Programming Julie McNamara, CDO, ViacomCBS + CEO/President for ViacomCBS Digital, Marc DeBevoise, discussed programming for the first network-branded direct-to-consumer service. The media executives also revealed several marketing tactics that have helped the brand capture demand and attention and discussed how he approached Paramount plus for the rebranding of the live TV streaming service, CBS all access service to Paramount Plus.

The streaming video service, launched in 2014, was solidified by the merger between Viacom and CBS, which brought forth changes that required branding adjustments and content expansion footprints. The company has prioritized the act of building a broader variety of content for various audiences and demographics. ViacomCBS chose to partner with Paramount and held years of media establishments. The name Paramount Plus results from the word’s meaning of being “greater.” The company will announce a set of preview launches over the course of six months, during which development will take place. 3500 episodes 20000 movies and episodes are slated to be available by the end of the year, with the content being pushed out into Q1. Its conglomerate's is to reach the 30,000 mark by the time tha repranding takes place. It will also continue to incorporate originals from various brands that have been built into the service, such as CBS Sports, CBS News, MTV, comedy central, bet, paramount movies, and much more. 

The difference between the domestic and the international version of the service is that the content varies and the domestic version stores live offerings. The service offers a variety of linear programming and streaming and is supported by an AI machine that works algorithmically, suggesting titles based on content the viewer has already watched. Debevoise stated that Paramount’s will still be integrated into the programming slate of the new rebranded, Paramount Plus. The newly rebranded service will first touch down in the US,  and certain regions in Latin America, the Nordics, and Australia, and is expected to continue expanding internationally. 

In terms of programming, Mcnamara explains the importance of conveying creativity for the brands the company collaborates with, such as its adaption of Stephen King’s novel “The Stand,” which details the aftermath of a pandemic, relating to the current reality. Though the film’s production was affected by the pandemic, it is set to be released this December. The first few seasons of ‘Star Trek,” will also be released before the end of the year, in an attempt to increase audiences in time for the rebranding. She also detailed the cruciality of adding iconic classics to the catalog, such as “Spongebob,” “The Godfather,” which is set to have a scripted event series. One of the titles expected to bring in a large amount of attraction is “Why Women Kill.”

Roku now has over 14,000 channels and a 3,000 year-over-year growth. Similar to the streaming service, Philo has also experienced large increases, accumulating more than 750,000 subscribers in the second quarter. According to Keyserling, the key to the company’s growth has accomplished its success by prioritizing the audience and executing precise and calculated spending.  In a discussion about the growth of their respective services, Head of Global Performance Marketing at Roku Tim Natividad and Chief Operating Officer of Philo Mike Keyserling highlighted the correlation between the’ consumption diet of consumers and potential cord-cutters, and the content provided by the service. Philo and Roku have initiated a partnership for Roku’s national retail offer as part of its overall marketing strategy. If a consumer purchased a Roku, 3-4 month offer, 2 months of Philo service were included with the purchase. “Retail is a huge opportunity for awareness and to let more people know about Philo,” Keyserling said.

The service offers a collection of popular content at a price point that is considered cost-effective, offering channels like A+E, AMC, VH1, Comedy Central, Discovery, among numerous others. To make it stand out, the company gathered programming that would satisfy the consumers’ needs. Viewer feedback is collected from media platforms and viewership metrics. A large portion of Philo customers does not feel the need for traditional cable services to comfortably access the content. Keyserling explained that though the pandemic serves a good opportunity for streaming services, there are drawbacks, such as the competition in the market. The company also pinpointed interests from every demographic of its audience to create a diverse portfolio of content. Both parties agreed that the pandemic has accelerated and modified consumer behaviors, finding out that features that facilitate streaming uses decrease the likelihood of consumption reverting to how it was at pre-covid levels. According to Keyserling, Philo's content availability and live tv offerings have helped retain customers’ attraction to the service. 

The final session of the day covered a presentation led by Host and Co-executive producer of the game show, “Let’s Make A Deal,” Wayne Brady, which highlights some of the best moments on the game show, along with his colleagues Chris Ahern, who Co-Executive Produces the show and Host & Announcer,  Jonathan Mangum. The presentation showcased a highlight reel of some of the best moments of the show, produced by Fremantle, including its at-home version, and featured videos of gameplay for prizes with NATPE attendees, as well as a live Q&A with the creatives. The group shot over 40 “pods” of “Lets Make a Deal” at home, handling remote communication amongst each other and their viewers. The crew shared the tactics they used to adapt to working remotely, and even showed off their gaming activities, taping a special edition for the session, “Let’s Make a Deal At Home: NATPE Edition,” the day before.

Connectivity is our strength.” Wayne Brady Host, Co-executive Producer, "Let's Make A Deal"