Paramount confirms Bakish exit as streaming losses narrow

Paramount Studios Water Tower


Paramount has confirmed the departure of CEO Bob Bakish following multiple press reports over the weekend that he was set to go following differences with Paramount chair Shari Redstone over her planned sale of the company (via an acquisition of her National Amusements investment vehicle) to producer Skydance.

Bakish will be replaced by leadership triumvirate comprising George Cheeks, Chris McCarthy, and Brian Robbins under the collective title Office of the CEO.

Cheeks is president and CEO of CBS; McCarthy is president and CEO, Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks; and Robbins is president and CEO of Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon.

Cheeks, McCarthy and Robbins will work closely with Naveen Chopra, CFO, and the paramount board, according to the company.

Shari Redstone, Chair of the Board, said: “Paramount Global includes exceptional assets and we believe strongly in the future value creation potential of the Company. I have tremendous confidence in George, Chris and Brian. They have both the ability to develop and execute on a new strategic plan and to work together as true partners. I am extremely excited for what their combined leadership means for Paramount Global and for the opportunities that lie ahead.”

The board of directors said, “The creation of the Office of the CEO will enable the Company to accelerate growth and strengthen operations. We look forward to working with George, Chris and Brian as they execute on key initiatives to enhance performance and value creation at Paramount Global.”

Restone meanwhile thanked Bakish “for his many contributions over his long career, including in the formation of the combined company as well as his successful efforts to rebuild the great culture Paramount has long been known for. We wish him all the best.”

Paramount+: revenue and subscribers up

The abrupt exit of Bakish and the company’s change in management came as Paramount reported increased sales and reduced losses for the first quarter.

The studio posted revenues of US$5 billion for the quarter, up from US$4.96 billion a year earlier.

Operating losses fell to US$417 million, down from US$1.23 billion for the prior year period.

Loss-making streamer Paramount+ ended the quarter with 71 million subscribers, having added a net 3.7 million over the quarter. The streamer’s revenue grew by 51%, which Paramount said reflected subscriber growth and an increase in ARPU thanks to price hikes.

Overall, Paramount’s direct-to-consumer segment grew revenues by 24% to US$1.88 billion, with a 31% lift in advertising revenue related to Pluto TV and Paramount+ along with Super Bowl coverage both contributing.

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