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Upfronts: The Queen of Broadcast Touts Paramount’s Streaming Assets

Jo Ann Ross ViacomCBS Upfront
Jo Ann Ross (center) will be pitching Paramount in person this year

After decades as the head of ad sales for CBS, it‘s hard to picture Jo Ann Ross returning after COVID to Carnegie Hall and pitching streaming.

But since the last live upfronts, CBS has combined with Viacom and become Paramount. And the TV world has shifted to streaming.

Ross touted the power of the combined company during last year’s virtual event.

“This will be a much bigger show being in Carnegie, and we’ll talk about entire platform across all of Paramount,” Ross told Broadcasting+Cable a few days before upfront week. “We have our linear and then obviously the biggest streaming platform in the universe” with the ad-supported version of Paramount Plus and the AVOD platform Pluto TV.

Upfronts 2022: Click Here for More Coverage

Ross said Wednesday afternoon’s presentation was designed to be “entertaining and informative and fun,” adding Paramount will get its “message across in a very innovative and unique way.”

CBS finished the season as the No. 1 broadcast network by some measures, and Paramount’s portfolio of cable networks — including Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and BET — reach diverse audiences.

“You really cant buy around us, and then you’ve got the strength of what we’re doing with Paramount Plus and Pluto,” she noted. “I don't think that we get enough credit for what we have to deliver and what we have to offer with Paramount Plus and Pluto, I think we've done a really good job in the past year, getting out in front of the marketplace and the way that we're selling Paramount Plus through Eye Q, with genre bundles, making it easier for our clients to buy and activate.”

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Paramount has been busy testing measurement companies and their ability to count audiences. It will be offering clients a choice in measurement currency, not just Nielsen. Paramount is ready to employ VideoAmp and Comscore and is close with iSpot.TV. Paramount is also working with OpenAP’s XPm to provide cross-publisher, cross-platform reach and frequency optimization.

Paramount is bringing the market what it calls Super Franchises, allowing advertisers to tap directly into the company’s diverse roster of major franchises, deploying high-impact media and premium access across linear, streaming and social, custom marketing integrations and exclusivity. 

Paramount’s “Content for Change” initiative underscores the company’s position in the DE&I space by applying research and data to transform the creative ecosystem.

It has advanced advertising with Vantage, one of the first sophisticated audience targeting platforms. Vantage delivers relevance and results across all consumer touchpoints, linear, digital and addressable TV. 

Ross is expecting this year’s market to be strong.

“You really cant buy around us. And then you’ve got the strength of what we’re doing with Paramount Plus and Pluto,” she noted. “We’re expecting the demand to be there,” she said. “Obviously there are a lot more choices, but I think we’re positioned really well with the depth and the breadth of our content.” ■

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.