WATCH MAGAZINE_April 2021_Paramount +

Dora and explorers Jeff Probst, Spock, and Hondo on Paramount Mountain.

brands CBS, Comedy Central, BET, MTV, Nickelodeon, the Smithsonian Channel, and Paramount Pictures. Together, they accounted for a whopping 30,000 episodes and more than 300 films at launch. Binge-worthy quality and quantity is cer- tainly what most of us—in quarantine since the start of COVID-19—could really use these days. “The instinct right now is probably to lean more toward shows that are fun to watch, really entertaining, and maybe take you to a different locale or a different life that's not your own,” McNamara says. “I think we're cognizant of that, too—that the shows be a little bit of a diversion from the moment we're in.”

Ryan acknowledges “the perfect timing” of launching Paramount+ during a pan- demic. “Clearly, [the pandemic] has been horrible—it’s affected so many people, and has resulted in so many of us being at home,” he says. “I don’t think Paramount+

“When you're looking to be entertained, you don't want to go to work.” —Tom Ryan, president and chief executive officer, ViacomCBS Streaming


could be upping its game at a better time than now, when stream- ing has just been accelerated several more years fromwhat it would have been because of everyone being at home.” In 2013, Ryan co-founded Pluto TV, which offers live video channels and curated on-demand content. Under his guidance the free, ad-supported streaming service, which is now part of the ViacomCBS family, reached 43 million monthly active users globally. Pluto TV’s success story has helped inform Ryan’s strat- egy for Paramount+—for starters, streamlining the experience with greater personalization and features based on the profile a user creates. “When you're looking to be entertained, you don't want to go to work, right?” Ryan adds. “You don't want to feel like you're spending 30 minutes hunting and pecking [for content]. You want to be entertained right then—and you want it to be easy.” (Raise your hand if you’ve ever played hot potato with your partner over the remote!)

The cheeky and inspired Super Bowl spots perfectly encapsulated what makes Paramount+, the ViacomCBS streaming service launched on March 4, a game-changer. “Those characters and personalities are iconic favorites for really passionate viewers,” says Julie McNamara, executive vice president and head of programming. “The whimsy, the attitude and the confidence of the Paramount brand allowed us to really have fun and put Sir Patrick Stewart and Snooki in the same con- text, which I thought was a blast.” Paramount+ is the official rebranding of CBS All Access, which launched in 2014—light years ahead of Apple+, Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock. Its “depth and breadth of the personali- ties and content” is what really sets Paramount+ apart, says Tom Ryan, president and chief executive officer, ViacomCBS Streaming. “These brands serve as trusted guideposts for the con- tent you’re looking for.” He’s referring, of course, to best-in-class

MEET THE EXECS Tom Ryan is the president and chief executive officer, ViacomCBS Streaming. He leads the company’s streaming businesses worldwide and has helped oversee the rebranding of CBS All Access into Paramount+. In 2013, he co-founded Pluto TV, a free, ad-supported streaming service that Viacom, prior to its merger with CBS, acquired in 2019.

Julie McNamara is the executive vice president and head of programming. She oversees the overall programming strategy for the streaming service, including current and future original series. As head of drama development at CBS Studios, she shepherded hits like The Good Wife , Hawaii Five-0, Elementary , NCIS: Los Angeles , and Blue Bloods .



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