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Paramount’s Corporate Musical Chairs: Bakish Leaves, Power Trio Plays On

As Paramount Global shuffles its deck with the departure of CEO Bob Bakish, the media giant might seem like it’s channeling a bit of Hollywood drama. Bakish, who ascended the corporate throne at Viacom back in 1997 and later took the reins at Paramount following the Viacom-CBS merger, has officially left the building—or rather, the boardroom. The company announced his exit alongside the spicy tidbit that merger talks with Skydance Media are still on the table.

Stepping into Bakish’s big shoes is not one, but three top executives in a sort of “CEO Voltron” arrangement. Enter George Cheeks of CBS, Chris McCarthy from Showtime/MTV, and Brian Robbins of Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon fame, poised to pilot the Paramount ship as a triumvirate. They, along with CFO Naveen Chopra and the board, are tasked with whipping up a “long-range plan” to boost growth, slash operations to the bare essentials, fortify the company’s finances, and polish its streaming strategy. If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is.

During their first-quarter earnings call—which was less of a call and more of a quick hello—Paramount teased these future plans. Chopra led this under-10-minute teaser trailer of a call, conspicuously devoid of analyst Q&A. They promised more details soon, but not too soon, because who doesn’t love a little suspense?

On the advertising front, Paramount is flexing its muscles just days before the industry’s annual “upfront” market, where TV networks try to sell off their commercial inventory in bulk. They’re rolling out a new suite of data tools, in partnership with Mastercard and EDO (shout-out to co-founder Ed Norton), aimed at proving that their ads don’t just get seen—they get results. This “attribution” model, which is all about linking commercials to concrete consumer actions like web visits or showroom stops, is Hollywood’s latest blockbuster idea, only with more data and fewer explosions.

John Halley, president of Paramount Advertising, put it this way: “Our goal here is to provide full transparency across outcome metrics not typically associated with premium video so that advertisers can better understand the value of our products.” That’s corporate speak for “We’re going to show you exactly how our ads help you sell stuff.”

Paramount isn’t the only one playing the attribution game. A+E Networks, Discovery Communications, and even the old guard at Nielsen have been tinkering with similar strategies. It’s like everyone suddenly decided that if you’re going to spend millions on ads, you might as well try to prove they actually work.

So, as Paramount gears up under its new trio of chiefs and flirts with the idea of a sale by Shari Redstone’s National Amusements, it’s clear they’re not just surviving—they’re trying to script their own comeback story. And in true Hollywood fashion, they’re keeping us all on the edge of our seats. Whether this will turn into a blockbuster hit or a box office bomb, only time will tell. But one thing’s for certain: in the world of media, the show must go on.

Pesach Lattin
Pesach Lattin
Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pesach Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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