CEO Says Paramount Global Has Content To Surpass WGA Strike – The Hollywood Reporter

Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish outlined the studio’s plan to weather the Writers Guild of America Strike during the company’s earnings call on Thursday, saying Paramount was prepared for this possibility, including a series of new releases and offshore production, to overcome It.

“Writers are an essential part of creating content that our audiences love, really across platforms. And we hope to be able to quickly come up with a solution that works for everyone. But it’s also fair to say that there’s a pretty big gap now,” Bakish said in response to an analyst’s question. “So obviously, we planned for this. We have plenty of leverage to pull and that will allow us to weather this strike, even if it lasts. In terms of those leverages, we have a lot of talkable stuff in the box. So, except for things like late nights, consumers really won’t notice anything for a while.”

“Add to that the huge range of real and not-so-descriptive where we are definitely the leader, as well as sport and that doesn’t suffer. And so what we can do is more in those areas as needed and again, we have a leadership position overall. Plus, we have overseas production, which we’re moving to capitalize on before the strike,” he said, adding that Paramount also has “one of the largest media libraries in the world.” best.”

As for the financial impact, Bakish said it depends on the duration of the strike. However, he expects it will likely be “slightly diluted” on revenue, unchanged from operating income before depreciation and amortization and accruing to cash.

Bakish’s comments are in line with previous statements by others, including Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, who has said that Netflix is ​​able to weather the writer’s attack better than others due to the email. its large content library. The CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery David Zaslav makes a similar comment about his streamer library.

WGA members staged protests this week outside Paramount’s LA headquarters, as well as outside numerous other studios including Amazon, Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery.

Bakish says Paramount’s upcoming content includes the release of four franchise films in the coming months, including Transformers: Rise of the Beast in June, Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One in JulyTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem in August and PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie in September. These will eventually find their way to the streaming side.

On the television side, Paramount is slated to release Taylor Sheridan’s next film, Special Activities: Lioness, starring Zoe Saldana, Morgan Freeman and Nicole Kidman this summer.

Paramount grew its streaming subscribers in the first quarter, reaching 60 million on Paramount+, while losses and investments in streaming also increased. While reiterating that “content is most important,” even amid a writers strike, Bakish said the company expects additional subscriber numbers in the second quarter to be “a little softer.” ” due to seasonality, but subscriber growth should continue into the second quarter of the year, thanks to a combination of Paramount+ and Showtime.

In a report Thursday, Moody’s analyst Neil Begley said he expects a new deal with the Writers Guild to cost media companies between $250 million and $350 million a year. But with negotiations imminent with other associations, including the Directors Guild of America, the Federation of Television and Radio Artists of America and the Screen Actors Guild, Begley expects total spending annual fees will increase from $450 million to $600 million a year.

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