Paramount Pictures has struck a multipicture deal with streaming giant Netflix Inc., Jim Gianopulos, the studio’s chairman, announced on December 21st 2018.
“Our priority is to expand Paramount as a global content provider,” Gianopulos said.
The Melrose Avenue film and television studio plans to produce films for Netflix next year, Gianopulos said during parent company Viacom Inc.’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings call with analysts.
The move represents a significant departure for Viacom, which was very damaged by selling Netflix streaming rights to its most popular Nickelodeon shows several years ago.
Wall Street analysts blamed Viacom’s previous management for accelerating the rapid migration of children’s viewership to streaming platforms and away from traditional TV networks. Ratings for Nickelodeon and Viacom’s other television channels faltered — and have never fully recovered.
Paramount is coming off a prolonged dry spell and heavy financial losses. It has been ramping up its pipeline of movies and TV shows to turn around the studio, which lost nearly $450 million in fiscal 2016.
Paramount’s chairman noted that Netflix, Amazon.com Inc., Hulu and Apple Inc. are collectively spending $20 billion this year on content. The streaming services are hungry for programming at a time when other major studios, such as Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros., have been pulling back because they plan to use their content to launch their own streaming services.
Viacom Chief Executive Bob Bakish said the new Netflix deal was different from past arrangements. “This strategy is about new original productions,” Bakish said.
Paramount will produce “a small number of titles” exclusively for Netflix, the Los Gatos streaming company. “We will sell to them when and where it makes sense,” Gianopulos said. “They are looking for great properties, and we have great intellectual property. We are looking at properties that are suitable for them.”