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    Paramount is ‘unshackling from FTA competitors’ with ad tier launch

    Australia is a “blueprint” for the global Paramount business, which is why it’s one of the first markets to launch a Paramount+ ad tier, according to president of international markets, advertising sales, Lee Sears.

    Local chief sales officer Rod Prosser believes that ahead of the June introduction of the ad tier, he’s the “most excited I’ve ever been” in his 14 years at the business. 

    This is the first time I can stand in front of them [advertisers], and say, ‘This is a true proposition’. The fact that we’ve now got a global platform, and soon to be launching ad tier here means the conversations are changing. The advertisers and advertising agencies are now understanding exactly what that global proposition brings to this market.

    “Our competitor set has broadened out, which actually makes for some good challenges. But with unshackling ourselves from our traditional competitors, free to air competitors, means we can start accessing different budgets, and hopefully more revenue.”

    Prosser and Sears were speaking to Mediaweek in Paramount’s Pyrmont offices this week, while Sears is in Australia to meet agencies, and the local team in person for the first time since he started in his current role in March – his second promotion in the space of a year.

    “We do all of our own sales, we’re owned and operated, we’ve got a free to air broadcaster, we’ve got FAST, AVOD, and now with P+, it means we’ve got the full suite,” Sears says of why the local market is the “blueprint”.

    “It also mirrors what we have in the US, because that’s how we’re set up there.”

    The Paramount+ ad tier launched first in the US, then Canada a few weeks ago, with Australia’s launch close behind in a couple of months. After that, “we will be looking at other markets,” Sears says. Priced at $6.99 per month here, Prosser says this “accessibility then means scale. And not only does it mean scale, hopefully quickly, it means less churn on those other tiers.”

    Sears has “had agencies and clients asking me to buy Paramount+ ad tier, even though we hadn’t launched it” for a long time, and Prosser adds there’s “serious interest” here, “particularly around the One Paramount proposition, which is essentially, all of our platforms, our total ecosystem, coming together for a brand and advertiser to reach new audiences.”

    “We’ve got SVOD, we’ve got AVOD, we’ve got obviously BVOD, we’ve got a free to air TV channel – that’s a pretty compelling offering,” Sears argues.

    “And it’s something which I think is really a point of difference and means that we can play in a different space. And in addition to that, we own a film studio, some of the biggest films in the world are going to be part of that, alongside some of the most watched content from around the world. And then a free to air channel, which has some of the biggest shows in market.

    “If you combine all of that together, the ad tier is a really exciting addition to the proposition. But then it’s about putting it all together. And that’s what Rod and I are working on with the team, making it a really convergent, cohesive sell to the market.

    “It’s about not having different teams go out and do it. It’s about having one team that goes out and does all of it.”

    Last month, Paramount+ EVP and international general manager Marco Nobili was in town, speaking with Mediaweek alongside AUNZ Paramount boss Beverley McGarvey. Nobili was clear: McGarvey’s priority is to help steer Paramount+ to profitability. Sears is equally focused on that.

    “The ad tier can send money to the rest of the advertising business, and the rest of the advertising business can make P+ part of that conversation. That’s why we’re choosing to launch the ad tier obviously, we needed to build the infrastructure, we needed to make sure that the content was right, we absolutely have that.

    “We feel really confident, and in a good place to make sure that the ad tier is a massive success, but also is a really important part of the rest of the offering that we have, from a commercial standpoint.”

    Sears’ boss, Pam Kauffman – president and CEO of international markets, global consumer products and experiences – has said his task is to “further position Paramount as an advertising powerhouse.” His first step to achieving that has been “breaking down silos, because we had different teams selling different things. That doesn’t make sense. It’s about creating a One Paramount team that sells our entire portfolio. And that’s exactly what we’re doing here in Aus.

    “That’s the reason I say Aus is a great blueprint, because Rod and the team are doing exactly that … That’s what I believe will put them in such a strong position uniquely, and means that they can have conversations other people cannot.”

    He also mentions a unified ad server – “that’s a really, really big statement, because I believe that that puts us, globally, in a really good position” – and a focus on ensuring alignment between teams, “put[ting] the right people in the right roles.”

    Paramount is ‘unshackling from FTA competitors’ with ad tier launch

    McGarvey and Nobili

    When Mediaweek interviews Sears and Prosser, it’s a day after the landmark Lehrmann verdict, in which his defamation case against 10 and Lisa Wilkinson was dismissed. 10 called the result “a triumph for truth”, and said it “remains firmly committed to honest, fair and independent journalism … to always pursuing, without fear or favour, journalism that is firmly in the public interest.”

    Prosser confirms “advertisers definitely see value in the news. And the reality is, our news is brand safe. There’s integrity in our journalism, there always has been, there always will be. And advertisers, particularly given what’s going on in the world, want to be in a brand safe environment.”

    As for what advertisers most expect from Paramount, Prosser says it’s strong ROI, and promises his team will deliver, while Sears adds: “what they’re looking for is frictionless entry, frictionless ability to buy. I think that converged sell is exactly that. I think all brands want brand safe content. They want the best content. And I think we have both of those in spades.”

    Top image L-R: Sears and Prosser

    The post Paramount is ‘unshackling from FTA competitors’ with ad tier launch appeared first on Mediaweek.

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