Global Streamers Keynote Series with Paramount+ Viaplay at MipCom

Douglas Craig, SVP Programming and Acquisition ViacomCBS was a guest at the Global Streaming Keynote Series at Mipcom. Doug is Senior Vice President of Content Strategy at ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI’s) Streaming Division. 

Craig leads international content strategy, programming, operations, and acquisitions for VCNI’s portfolio of international streaming services across all international markets. He is focused on leading the execution and development of VCNI’s content proposition and channel or programming strategy for Paramount+, Pluto TV, and Noggin in dozens of key markets.

Douglas Craig said it’s not just about how many titles, I just work on streaming. The service continues its rollout for a wide range having launched in 25 markets globally this year and while there are 45 additions in the market projected till 2022. 

Craig says Paramount+ is providing its service in Latin America and 19 other countries in total. Craig said We are dealing with lots of distribution parts so our philosophy is to distribute, we’re not necessarily focused on directing similar as Disney+ might be doing.

We work through some of the traditional distribution partners. We are learning right and for us, Europe is the next big frontier, we also have other places in mind after that, there is a lot coming in 2022 and 2023. 

Definitely, the distribution strategy might be one of the ways to stand out from the crowd. What is the core value that is going to make a difference to Paramount+? Replying to the question Douglas Craig said, I think, what goes to Paramount+ is we have a wide and different content, there is really something for everyone in every house.

Be there for kids, whether it be an action movie, reality, or more. When we are going to the market, we actually love what is unseen, Netflix. But we know that isn’t the market strategy, we present ourselves among two or three streamers in the market. We believe that we have the content to do it. So for us, the focus is on a lot of different content from different journalism, over time we will learn and find out the things that might work better for us

There are things like movies, which are fantastic tools to get people to sign up for your service. But you will be surprised when people say what keeps them subscribed. For example, a kid’s content, a library of movies, a library of TV shows, are massive drivers to keep people subscribed.

Whereas new movies, original programs, helps to get people on the door. So we have to get people and that is equally important. CBSPrime is another great example, in the past, we were selling the content.

All the streamers can befriend, they can be forced to when it comes to parents for instance you might be definitely distributing some of your great content. When it comes to the fast model and SVOD approach, what do you stand in between, what is the right amount of fast SVOD that you want to ever bring into the service?

Douglas Craig repelled, our philosophy is, we don’t really do things we need to based on the one platform. Everyone in the room watches and consumes television differently, on different platforms. Our company was built on linear television, it’s still a huge part of the focus, we’re not shy away from that. 

We’re investing more in streaming and for us, streaming can take many shapes, it can be Pluto, for us, it’s not about placing and picking the winner. It’s all about finding the consumers. We are looking at how Paramount+ can meet the market and for Sky Showtime we looked at 20 countries. 

We have great content, everyone needs great content, and we feel like we are in a great position. And to be in the top position you also have to have a great experience, so someone has to go into your app, how they will get there if it’s through television, through the partners. That experience has to be simple, bulletproof, if you are using your connected TV or phone it should be consistent to know where you are and how to find things. 

The third piece is discovery or marketing. You can have great content, a stealer app, but what if anyone doesn’t know about it. Coming from the traditional side of television, where you know that content is king. If you have a great content big platform and you tell people about it then you can be the winner. 

How do you use technology as part of the user experience? Douglas replied that there are certain things on the technology side, we have the app that is sometimes easier to use, you want app search functionality, single signup. Personalization is becoming more and more important, Pluto offers you with digital linear experience.

Marjorie Paillon then welcomes Filippa Wallestam, EVP & Chief Content Officer, NORDIC Entertainment Group. Viaplay is a European video streaming leader. Filippa said the ambition of Viaplay is to cover around 50 countries this year. 

She said we produced our first Viaplay original in 2016 and shorted ambitious and pretty earlier and have the ambition to produce 20 with Nordic. We know we have viewers hence we are launching to new markets. To have more subscribers it becomes crucial to provide valuable content and this is the strategy we are working on. 

Filippa Wallestam further said that we don’t consider the market as a competition we consider it as complements as many of them help to work with the same ecosystem. “What values does the Nordic have to offer for your viewers?”, Marjorie Paillon asked. 

Then Filippa Wallestam replied that what is important for us is to produce a strong Nordic, we need different things to bring great to our table. There are very young people who are working with us. We are finding new talents in the area and this is relevant globally. 

We have lots of subscribers and now we have reached the point that helps us to grow ambitiously. We have a couple of cool projects in the development with the young talents coming from the schools who have the same background. 

All the best-performing shows are driven by female creators. When it comes to the new market where we are entering, it is kind of a little more challenging because we need to understand we don’t come in the wrong way, so that we can trust local producers. What is important for us is that we are expanding on our own core values. 

Filippa Wallestam said we have lots of technology behind everything. For us both technology and humans work together, helping to come up with excellent and engaging content. The most groundbreaking partnership Viaplay has is top players, making it easier for customers to get access to the wider content they are looking for. 

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