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Paramount Global: Can A New Owner Solve The Streaming Puzzle?

With the bidding war for Paramount Global heating up, now is the time to assess the content assets this beleaguered firm would bring to the table of its potential suitors.

This is where Paramount Global stands with US audiences as of Q1 2024:

  • Paramount Global Corporate Demand Share: 11.9%, 3rd place
  • Paramount+ Total On-Platform Demand Share: 8.6%, 7th place
  • Paramount+ Streaming Original Demand Share: 5.5%, 7th place

The data shows Paramount Global has a highly valuable, top tier content library, but has not translated this into an industry-leading streaming offering. The combination of a money-bleeding DTC segment, struggling studio, and exposure to linear TV has made Paramount Global as a whole worth less than the sum of its parts.

Paramount+ has a loyal audience for certain scripted fare, such as the Star Trek and Taylor Sheridan universes. It also has exclusive access to premier live sports, mostly importantly the NFL, but also March Madness and UEFA Champions League, among others.

Paramount’s linear assets are the biggest question mark. While CBS remains the most-viewed broadcast network in total viewers, basic cable networks such as MTV, BET, Comedy Central and VH1 face brand perception challenges in the modern marketplace and rapidly declining viewership. Can these be salvaged or at least sold off at a profit?

However the Redstone family yard sale plays out, the new owner will need to modernize the company’s strategy lest it fall prey to the same issues. Depending on who the new owner is, Paramount Global can either revitalize itself with an influx of new resources and fresh ideas or become a downsized footnote in Hollywood history similar to 20th Century Fox under Disney. For the health of the industry, the former sounds like a better alternative.

Corporate Demand Share

  • Corporate demand share can assess which companies have the most valuable content to license, and can help value a conglomerate’s legacy and library content in aggregate.
  • Paramount Global remains in third place in this category, well ahead of NBCUniversal and Netflix, but significantly behind leaders Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery.
  • Paramount Global grew slightly in Q1 2024, but from 11.9% in Q4 2023.

Catalog Demand Share by Original Release Type

  • Streaming original content accounts for a fraction of the overall demand for most streamers, showing why many legacy companies are now re-opening up their libraries to licensing deals after trying to build up walled gardens earlier this decade.
  • Paramount+ is highly reliant on the programming of Paramount Global’s broadcast (CBS) and cable channels (Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, etc).
  • It’s questionable what a buyer would want with these linear channels long term, given the decline in the cable TV business. They may follow the route of the newspaper business into the buzzsaw of private equity.

On-Platform Demand Share

  • While demand for original content drives subscription growth, library content is key for customer retention, an increasingly crucial element of all streaming strategies as consumers have more choice and easier ways to cancel than ever.
  • Paramount+ (8.6%) has now finished behind Peacock (8.8%) for two quarters in a row. Peacock was consistently in last place of the major streamers in on-platform demand share until Q4 2023.
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