Leaders attempt to spin ‘New Paramount’ as a ‘tech hybrid’ company

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Moving forward as a single company, the “New Paramount” will attempt to reshape itself as a tech company, at least in part, according to multiple comments made by executives on a July 8, 2024, conference call for investors.

“The key thesis behind this transaction is our desire to inject Skydance as a pure play content company, to double down on Paramount’s prowess as one of the world-class storytelling enterprises,” said Skydance Media CEO David Ellison on the call.

The combined venture will also be designed to “expand” into what Ellison called a “tech hybrid” that is “able to transition to meet the demands and needs of the evolving marketplace.”

Skydance itself already partners with Oracle, which was founded by incoming Paramount CEO Ellison’s father, though further details on a potential integration with Paramount assets were not directly addressed during the call.

Key to the “tech hybrid” model is also the company’s DTC streaming efforts, with Ellison mentioning a “three-pronged” approach to that category that calls for a review of its current content strategies and solidifying how to best place what content where.

“I’m a big political believer in windowing strategy, and I think there’s maybe a more efficient way to maximize the value of our content while continue to be in the DTC business,” former NBCU executive Jeff Shell, who will become the president of Paramount, said on the call.

Execs also mentioned potential interest in partnerships in streaming. 

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Specifically, Ellison said that his “intention” is to “rebuild” Paramount+, including examining the platform’s recommendation engine and ad tech. The company could also explore strategic deals with cloud providers to improve its infrastructure and its efficiency. 

In addition, the incoming leadership team has already identified $2 billion in cost efficiencies, though it did not provide specific details other than suggesting at least some of these could come from cuts, consolidations and more investment in linear brands, as appropriate. 

While further details were not discussed, the call did specifically mention that plans call for CBS to remain the centerpiece of its strategy, including for streaming, moving forward.

It’s also likely at least some of those could come by combining back office and administrative functions such as human resources, IT and marketing.

Paramount already partners with Skydance to distribute films such as the “Mission: Impossible” franchise, so there are likely cost savings to be realized by having the new Paramount distribute films such as these that it will essentially now be producing as well.

There’s also the possibility that the new company will explore selling off some of Paramount’s current assets.

“There are assets here which we think are not strategic to where we’re going,” said Shell. “And we know current management is also talking about a couple of transactions that, if they get the right price, we’ll be supportive of.”

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