ANZ boss Beverley McGarvey on the future of Paramount+ and driving subscriber growth

Paramount+ celebrates its first birthday today, so Mumbrella's Emma Shepherd catches up with CEO Beverley McGarvey to get an overall update on the future of the platform while she hints at an ad-supported tier and potential price hike.

Paramount+ in Australia celebrates its first birthday today after rebranding from10 All Access, with Paramount+ ANZ executive vice president and chief content officer, Beverley McGarvey, sharing what’s next for the platform and its key strategies to drive subscriber growth.

“The key method for Paramount+ is increasing subscribers and making sure that they stay with the service,” she says. “It’s all about the content. We’ve had incredibly fast growth over the 12 months since we launched last year.”

Beverley McGarvey

McGarvey explains that the key to driving subscribers is the expansive content on the platform, and the investment in a mix of premium international content, particularly new Australian content from P+ and Network 10.

“I think our growth comes down to a range of factors. We have phenomenal internationals, such as 1883, Yellowstone, and New Blood, which really drives interest and creates noise.

“We also have a layer of international content that really drives engagement and audiences in which you may not think would, things like South Park, and iCarly, things that are sort of under the radar but have really started the bubble through. And then there’s deep library, I think it’s crucial for streaming because if you went to watch your favourite show, then what else you do, and there needs to be a really interesting deep library in there, and that’s when your Paw Patrol and your NCIS type content really shines through.”

While McGarvey didn’t disclose the Paramount+ ANZ subscriber numbers, Roy Morgan estimates put year-on-year growth at 348%, with Paramount+ at around 400,000 subscribers.

A factor of possibly not hitting the higher subscriber numbers like its counterparts could be around the UI UX experience.

From word of mouth of Paramount+ football subscribers, the common complaint was around the tech issues that they faced when navigating around the platform and the lagging while watching an A-league, APL, or W-League game.

“We only really had issues around live sport, and it’s to do with the fact we were originally launching a service that we only intended to launch entertainment content on, but as soon as we acquired the football rights we had to put the football up quite quickly, and we had to have a completely different infrastructure,” McGarvey admits.

“Since we’ve launched we’ve also added Amazon and Samsung channels, and we’re also on the Optus Sub Hub, and there’s more of that to come. In terms of tech, the platform will continue to grow and improve, and we will continue to invest in it.”

McGarvey also notes that since the launch, the company has invested a considerable amount in its user interface and design, and says the investment from Paramount+ in other markets has accelerated the new look of the platform.

“When we launched we were the fourth country to do so, along with the United States, the Nordics, and Latin America. Now, since launching here, we will see Paramount+ launch in the UK, and by the end of this year another 40 to 60 markets the service jump, that’s relevant because as a global company, we continue to invest materially. We’ve added a watch list, we’ve added homepage personalisation, and in the last few weeks added profiles.

As for subscriber and revenue growth, McGarvey says the run rate for paying subscribers is “higher than we expected, ahead of forecast.”

When probed whether Paramount+ will follow its competitors Netflix and Disney+ and launch its own ad-supported tier, McGarvey notes that the platform was one of the first players to do this in the US.

“It’s a very early days question. But, I think, first of all, we do have advertising around the football on Paramount+ so we actually already carry advertising,” she says. “We are already equipped to do it, we have an internal sales team already.

“In the US, there are ad-supported tiers in other markets, so, it’s something that we will definitely consider, but we have only just launched the platform and it is a very competitive price, but as a global business we have a lot of clever people who are testing things in different markets, so we are very well- positioned to make a decision when the time comes but we’re not there yet. At the moment, our current focus is to continue to grow our subscriber base.”

As for Paramount ANZ’s multi-platform strategy and ecosystem including Ten, 10 Play, Paramount+, MTV, and Nickelodeon in Australia.

“Our multiplatform strategy is really about getting our content in front of customers and audiences in a way that they want to consume it,” she said. “Hunted is a really good example. We launched Hunted on Network Ten and were able to be watched via live stream or 10 Play, then people catch up across the seven days. We put it as a binge drop on Paramount+ over the weekend which just done really well.”

To see hear more about the interview with Beverley McGarvey, listen to this week’s Mumbrellacast below.


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