In a year dominated by the sweeping changes in TV, as linear ad spend began its decline and advertisers followed audiences onto new platforms. Mediaweek is ending the year by catching up with content and sales executives from each network, and first up is Paramount ANZ’s SVP content and programming, Daniel Monaghan, and chief sales officer, Rod Prosser.
When asked what the highlight reel of Paramount’s 2023 looks like, both Monaghan and Prosser had a list of achievements to point to – across both content and brands.
Monaghan: “We’ve had the most-watched entertainment shows for younger audiences, so that’s something to crow about. We’ve had Thank God You’re Here as the biggest comedy launch in four years, we’ve got the number one and number two 8:30pm shows on television with Have You Been Paying Attention? and Gogglebox.
“Nickelodeon’s launching this year was a big one for us, bringing that brand across to Free to Air and then growing a linear channel. 10 Play is the fastest growing BVOD platform, it’s already up 25% year on year, we have 50 FAST channels on the platform now, and we’ve got daily viewing up over 200% after the FAST channels have launched. And we’ve got a lot more to come in 2024.”
Prosser: “What’s been really exciting for me is to engage with advertisers, talking about the breadth in our business – we really are the only network now with free-to-air, BVOD, SVOD, and AVOD with FAST. What that means for advertisers is that we’re connecting to a really broad range of audiences, and in particular we’re seeing our FAST channels bringing in a younger cohort, and bringing them back into the free environment.”
Throughout the year, the pair say that there have been some unmissable trends emerging in regard to both audience consumption and the ever-increasing desire to seek out brand safety.
Monaghan: “As a global brand, things that target a broad family dynamic have really worked well, we’ve seen great success with that. We’ve seen success with IP and things that are based on real life – particularly on Paramount+.
“People really want to laugh at the moment. 10 has the most watched comedies on TV, and we moved that over to Paramount+ with The Inspired Unemployed. That was a giant success there. The news cycle is quite heavy, people really want to laugh – from a content perspective, we’re very happy to oblige.”
Prosser: “A common theme that has popped up is brand safety. We’re living in some really interesting times with some really tragic situations going on around the world – not being attached to misinformation is critical. Responsibility and integrity in journalism are definitely important to brands, and I suspect that’s because of what’s surfacing on social platforms.
“Outside of that, on a more positive note, we’ve seen brands really want to innovate through content and look at how they can partner with our various shows in a much more meaningful way. That’s good for us, because we’ve worked really closely with the producers of the shows, and they really leaned into how they execute brand partnerships.”
2024 is already shaping up to be a big year, with the launch of VOZ and VOZ Streaming on the horizon. Predicting the impact of the rollout, Prosser said that “full-stop, VOZ is the best measurement and representation of how and what Australians are viewing on free to air.”
Prosser: It will be currency, allowing buyers to find mass reach efficiently and effectively. I think it’s a game-changer.
“In terms of VOZ streaming, we are a massive advocate of the product. It’s in the hands of the OzTAM board, the MFA, and a lot of other various vendors. The important thing for us is that the product will need to evolve to ensure that the total TV picture is being measured, and at some point that will be broader than just our free to air assets.”
2024 will also see Paramount+ launch its ad tier – something Prosser said the team is “super excited” about.
Prosser: “In terms of the SVOD space, we are attracting a younger audience. We’re having conversations with brands, who are having a good look at our services. We’ve got some really nice gains in younger audiences.”
As for whether there are any categories that are investing more in streaming than perhaps they would be in other spaces, Prosser said of SVOD that “There are no particular brands as such, but I think that what it’s doing is re-energising the television sector.”
Top Image: Rod Prosser and Daniel Monaghan