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Tom Ryan on ViacomCBS's Streaming 'Super Funnel'

Tom Ryan ViacomCBS Streaming TCA
Tom Ryan during TCA executive session

ViacomCBS is looking to build its streaming business through a "super funnel" strategy that uses its TV efforts to drive viewers of the company’s other assets to subscribe to Paramount Plus.

During a ViacomCBS executives presentation at the virtual TCA Summer 2021 press tour Tuesday, Tom Ryan, president & CEO of ViacomCBS Streaming, said the company's streaming assets are lining up much as its linear assets did.

There's a free service in Pluto TV, a broad pay service in Paramount Plus and a premium pay service in Showtime OTT. And they work together.

"We've created a linked ecosystem with differentiated offerings that we refer to as the super funnel, where each service feeds into the other, introducing and enticing consumers through promotions and bundling, to drive subscriber acquisition, retention and lifetime value across our streaming universe," Ryan said. 

Ryan said that users that come to Paramount Plus from other ViacomCBS sources convert at a higher rate. They also generate "significantly" more streaming hours watched than the average viewers.

ViacomCBS's TV assets work together to drive subscriptions to Paramount Plus and Showtime, he said.

Tanya Giles, chief programming officer for ViacomCBS Streaming, said that Paramount Plus' upcoming series Mayor of Kingstown and 1883 will also have simulcast events following new episodes of Yellowstone on ViacomCBS's The Paramount Network on their premiere dates.

"This sampling effort on linear is a great opportunity for us to introduce existing Taylor Sheridan fans to the new series in his universe,” she said.

Similarly, before SEAL Team moves to Paramount Plus this season, CBS will air the first four episodes. This will raise awareness among the show's established broadcast audience on the move to streaming, Giles said.

Ryan added that sampling shows on Pluto TV has been more effective than sampling them on YouTube.

ViacomCBS's streaming content strategy is also working, Ryan said. He said that one in three new subscribers said they subscribed because they were interested in an original or exclusive program and that 70% of Paramount Plus subscribers have watched at least one Paramount Plus original. 

The average age of the Paramount Plus audience has dropped 2 years to 35 since last quarter.

The streaming services will be bulking up its kids and young adult content and ride new and old franchises including Star Trek, Halo and South Park.

Paramount Plus is also using data about its subscribers' habits to personalize their experience. Ryan said personalizing the Paramount Plus home page has increased viewership of its content catalog by 70%.

The latest figures on ViacomCBS streaming services are that Pluto TV has 52 million active users and Paramount Plus has more than 42 million global subscribers, with a 50% growth in subscribers and viewership since being rebranded from CBS All Access.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting + Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.