September 20, 2021


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Why Brian Robbins is taking charge of Paramount

6 min read

At first glance, Brian Robbins may not seem like a typical Hollywood movie mogul. But it can only have qualities and film impressions can also feel the modern role of needs.

Robins of ViacomCBS, an entrepreneur who specializes in the language of social media, as he is in backlot politics, is a new sign of generational change in terms of entertainment to be the head of his Paramount unit. This comes at a time when traditional themed media companies are turning to a new lineup of executives to help them understand the streaming revolution that has disrupted their business. Simply put, many of Hollywood’s most respected players are desperate to become younger and more digitally aware in order to compete in new and global competitions. Robbins will replace Jim Giannopoulos, who has played a leading role in twentieth-century Fox and Paramount.

“This is a reflection of the growing importance of streaming,” said Hal Vogel, a media analyst. “Their families and teenage audiences need to attract a wider audience, and they clearly feel that Robbins has a better understanding of that market.”

Robbins, who returned to the ViacomCBS fold in the fall of 2018, has logged in to both a traditional themed media company and a start-up. He founded Wonder TV, which introduced him to the digital world at a time when companies like Disney, Comcast and Time Warner were still working to manage traditional endowment resources such as TV networks as their main connection with consumers.

Giannopoulos, who joined the studio in 2017 after a few decades at Fox, had some notable success at Paramount. He helped establish new franchises such as “A Quiet Place” and “Sonic the Hedgehog”. After years of financial mismanagement, he turned the studio into a profit, and he hired a strong core of executives, such as Emma Watts, head of Motion Picture Group, and distribution guru Chris Aronson, many of whom he knew from his days at Fox. Gianopoulos also helped secure lucrative deals like “Coming 2 America” ​​and “The Trial of the Chicago 7” when he sold to streamers like Netflix and Amazon on the dark days of the epidemic. He was forced to do so without going to Paramount’s own streaming service, a sign of how much the studio needed to be attracted. Paramount Plus, ViacomCBS’s new branded Netflix Challenger, Warnermedia, Comcast and Disney all did not launch until March 2021, a few months after unveiling their own streaming platform.

But Giannopoulos was also a different part of Hollywood, let alone create his own streaming content when age was the king of movies and Netflix had yet to start DVD shipping. His expertise is in delivering plays worldwide, something that is less important towards everything digital. And it’s impossible to see his departure as part of a wider transformation of Hollywood. Alan Horn is set to retire from Disney this year, Ron Meyer came out of Universal in the wake of a sex scandal, Stacey Snyder left Fox when Disney bought the company and entered the startup world as Sister’s co-head, and Jeffrey Katzenberg’s visionary Looking for the next job. These talented executives are not all contemporaries in terms of age, but they all took power at a time when the film business was king, only to be binged to see that it was complemented by “content” -shows, movies and user-created things, flowing, and meme’d. Some, like Snyder, seem ready to redesign themselves for a new era. For others, like many older horns, it indicates a well-deserved retirement.

Robbins’s biography may fit him well for this era. Her work on content aimed at kids and young viewers has exposed her to the early days of new video use habits. Even media executives steering resources initially seen by older viewers are now struggling with the rise of streaming video and on-demand viewing. “Of course there are headwinds, and for all linear televisions. In many ways, the kids’ business has been more affected,” Robbins said. Diversity In 2019. Still, he noted, “If you create content and show what kids want to see, they’ll show it.”

At Nickelodeon, he has pressured executives to break old rules and procedures. Under him, Nickelodeon began expanding content related to SpongeBob Squarepants, a new series centered on animated children’s favorites, and a different character, Patrick Starr. “It’s our Marvel Universe,” Robbins said Diversity In past interviews. “You have this amazing show that has been around for almost 20 years.” He has also helped establish a new relationship between the NFL and its kids outlets. Earlier this year, Nickelodeon aired an NFL wild card game, and it entertained young viewers with clever animated graphics and commentary on some of its familiar series stars. The event ended up being the most-watched program on Nickelodeon in the last four years, and on Friday, the network announced that it would run a new weekly half-hour program aimed at making the NFL a big part of its young charge entertainment menu.

He has also communicated with long-term ways of working. “The only model was the rins-and-repeat model. Today we live in a binge-watching world. Give me a new show. Give me another new show. I want to see it, eat it and go to the next show, ”Robbins said in 2019. It was enough to satisfy the kids audience because they didn’t like it. I think today we need to create a volume quality franchise, but not necessarily feed a million episodes of those shows. We have to keep the new series numbers constant, and not necessarily do a show with 80 episodes.

The hit on Robbins is that he is more of a salesman than a business dreamer. Extraordinary TV has attracted a number of major investors over the years, initially selling to DreamWorks Animation and later selling equity shares to the liking of Verizon and Hearst. However, when Viacom bought the company for 50 50 million in 2018, it was a fraction of the 50 650 million valuation it acquired in 2016. Be irritable

Peter Newman, head of the Tish School’s MBA / MFA program, said, “He was instrumental in creating that part of his pitch to focus on the next new thing and add value to a company,” said Fine Arts at New York University. “The only problem is when you’re working on the next shiny new thing, the verdict is always out there about how well it will work.”

Even if Robbins has orders to move things in Paramount, he may find himself in conflict with a business that is stubbornly resistant to change. Jason Killer, who took over at WarnerMedia with a view to strengthening HBO Max, saw himself in the midst of a revolt when he decided to premiere the entire slate of the studio on the streaming service at the same time introduced in the movies. It was billed as a waiver for the epidemic, but Killer still saw himself as a minister for hurting arrogance. Warner Bros. finally paid hundreds of millions of back-end payments to appease the talent. And Disney Film CEO Alan Bergman and company CEO Bob Chapek stopped breaching contracts with Scarlett Johansson when it decided to release “Black Widow” on Disney Plus at the same time it opened in theaters. A-list stars and their agents may talk about the need to adapt to changing times, but they want to pay accordingly.

Robbins might have spoken the language of talent, because at one point he was on their show. She began her career as a child star on the ABC sitcom “Head of the Class” before becoming a media executive production, directing and ultimately entrepreneur.

In Paramount, however, he has to do more than the kids thing. The movie business has moved toward relying on tentpole releases based on superheroes or sci-fi stalwarts. But there are still Oscar-bait dramas, short indie films and other genres that help build a business.

And then there are the questions about the future of ViacomCBS on the strength of media companies. Shari Redstone says the company her family has created has the resources needed to compete with the entertainment leviathan that casts a shadow over the entertainment world. However, many observers believe he will have no choice but to sell the company to Apple, Amazon or other technology giants in the process of making and distributing the film.

“I don’t think he will have any choice but to sell in two or three years,” Vogel said. “There’s a lot of competition and it’s hard to find a niche there with Netflix and Disney and Apple and Amazon.”

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