‘It’s very important to position ourselves very differently’: Marco Nobili and Beverley McGarvey on Paramount’s unique play in Australia

Mumbrella's Nathan Jolly spoke to Marco Nobili, EVP and international GM of Paramount+, and Beverley McGarvey, head of streaming and regional lead for Australia and New Zealand, and recently appointed president of Network 10, about the company's local direction and strategy.

Paramount is competing directly with the likes of Netflix and Disney in the subscription streaming game. It’s also fighting in the commercial free to-air battlefield, as well as staking a major claim in the ad-supported streaming world, both with 10Play, off to a record-breaking 2024, and Pluto – which recently unleashed 50 free stations into the Australian market.

Put simply, Paramount offers a unique proposition in the Australian television market, and it knows it.

Beverley, congratulations on adding president of Network 10 to your lengthy job title. What plans have you got for the next 12 months, now that you’ve got the keys, so to speak?

Beverley: Our plans have been on foot for a while. And I think, you know, we’re really focused on maximising our content across all of our platforms. These are both local priorities, but also global priorities that we talk about quite broadly. So, you know, utilising our content on platforms, but also really accelerating the growth of our streaming business.

Something that’s important to us, that we talk about a lot, is really just pulling together all of the great assets that we have, whether it be Paramount Plus, Network 10, Nickelodeon, all of the brands, and utilising that one Paramount ecosystem, both from an internal and external point of view,  and how we go to market, and how we engage with clients and consumers.

They have been our priorities, and they will continue to be the priorities that I work with our local and international teams on.

Marco, what are your thoughts of the Australian streaming market, looking at it from the outside? Are there unique aspects? Is it comparable to other markets? How does it compare?

Marco: First of all, I would say that the Australian streaming market is a market that is a big profit pool for the company.

I think, over the longer period of time, that we certainly recognise it’s a market that we want to continue to invest and accelerate. And maybe it’s not market typicalities for everybody else, but certainly there is some typicalities for us in a few ways:

Number one, we have a strong ecosystem in Australia. So, with Network 10, and 10play, and our overall presence in Australia – it certainly makes it a market where we can continue to invest, accelerate, and try to really take away our fair share of that big profit pool that we see for the future.

And last, but not the least, the content that comes from our US studios certainly travels extremely well in Australia, not only because it’s an English-speaking market, but we have seen that content really doing very, very well across multiple pools in the Taylor Sheridan universe space, but also things like Halo, things like NCIS, and you probably very well know that we have taken some of the franchises and did our own local version of it, that not only has played well across our ecosystem in Australia, but has also played very well back in the States.

So, as you can see, there are multiple reasons for us to have a particularly high priority, from a market standpoint, into Australia.

I heard you say non-traditional deals are key to breaking APAC for you, such as the global deal you did with F1 and the Qantas partnership. Do you have any similar things in the pipeline?

Marco: Well, I think that we have always been very open to partnership. We like to think of our ecosystem as an expanded ecosystem and how can we leverage the power of our content across multiple channels and players.

We were pioneering in that space in some of these markets. We entered Europe with Paramount+ with big partnership with Sky and Canalathon, as an example. We’ve done a pioneering partnership in the States with Walmart or with Delta [Air Lines].

And I would say in Australia, we certainly also look into that and kind of innovate across the board from a distribution standpoint, where you could say that Origin [Energy] has been a great partnership for us that we continue to build upon from a marketing partnership standpoint, like you were mentioning as Qantas or as F1 across the globe. From a distribution and platform standpoint, with platforms like Amazon, Fetch, and so on. And really, for that reach and ubiquity that we are really looking for, there is certainly more to come, particularly as we are now, I’ve announced that we’re going to launch a Paramount+ basic with ad-tier that is going to give us another opportunity to look at other ways to distribute Paramount+ and find economic value out of it. So certainly it is a space that we are very active in.

Ad-supported streaming is a space Paramount is doing well in. You’ve got the ad-based tier coming on Paramount+, but you’ve also got 10 Play, Pluto TV. Where do you see the future of subscription based streaming versus ad based? Do you think there’s room for both? Do you think one will swamp the other? Where do you see the balance lying in the future?

Marco: Yeah, well, we continue to see growth across both segments. Free streaming and paid streaming, maybe to oversimplify, including advertising on paid streaming and maybe AVOD and FAST on the free streaming side. Both of those segments continue to grow.

There’s certainly kind of accelerated growth for some of us. And I would say that Paramount+ has certainly proven to be one of those players across many countries, in Australia, as a matter of fact, we are the fastest growing in the last couple of years. But, going back to your question, we continue to see growth on both of those segments. We are very well positioned to take our fair share of both opportunities. So, on the on the paid side with Paramount_, on the free side with a our BVOD play with with 10Play and our PLUTO channels, that we have also recently launched, are doing particularly well.

I think that when we look over the longer period of time, it’s actually a market that’s probably going to split at 50-50, when we look at a global picture. Is that 50-50 exactly the same we’re going to see for Australia? That’s still kind of ‘in development’, if you want.

I remain very optimistic on both of those segments.

Beverly, you must be pleased with how the Formula One rated for Ten.

Beverley: Oh yeah, it’s great. It’s such a great event. It did really well. And importantly, it allows us to showcase some of our other content, both on Paramount+ and 10, to a broader audience.

We’re excited across the board, you know, it did really well – and it helped us launch ‘I’m a Celebrity’ on Sunday night and it helped us promote Top Gear, which will be coming soon to Paramount+.

So I think it just really plays into making sure that we have great content across all platforms, and then getting it in front of people. Getting it in front of people these days, you know, in a very complex and busy market is really critical.

Yeah. And that cross-platform integration is part of your strategy. Can you talk a bit more about that in terms of opportunities for advertisers? 

Beverley: Absolutely. I think, the interesting thing, from an advertiser point of view is that, if you’re from an agency, or coming from a CMO point-of-view, and you come to talk to our sales team, we have one point of entry. You can come and have a conversation, and you can access customers both on Ten, 10 Play, on the FAST service and, increasingly, on Paramount+.  It’s frictionless, tyou can come and trade with us on any platform that you want or build a campaign where you get reach on a certain platform, and you can build up certain audience segments – but you can do it going through one door, and not having to speak to multiple people, or multiple businesses. That’s the really important piece for us.

Marco: Our capabilities to build this ecosystem where one plus one gives three. It’s very important to position ourselves very differently versus some of the other players, because we have big global streamers along with great local touch points.

We strongly believe the power of our ecosystem, sometimes we call it our super funnel, is a huge competitive advantage for us.


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