Ms. Schildknecht, in London today, Paramount+ is celebrating its expansion into Europe with the UK launch. When is Paramount+ coming to Germany?
Paramount+ will be available online in Germany, Austria and Switzerland from December 2022, via the Paramount+ app for iOS and Android and via supported connected TV devices at a monthly price of EUR 7.99 directly to the end user. More details on the local offering will be announced at a later date. At launch, Paramount+ will also be available as a free app for Sky Q to all Sky Cinema subscribers.
Paramount+ is not the first streaming service. What is the point of a subscription?
Of course, there are already some other streaming offers on the market. I wouldn’t say we’re “late to the party” though. Rather, we are coming to a point in time when streaming is established as a model, so it is no longer a product that needs explanation and we can therefore fully concentrate on the content competition. And all this under a brand that already has a brand awareness of over 90 percent in all European markets. In addition, nowadays the content decides which service is used.
And what speaks for Paramount+ in the content competition?
We’ll have a great offer there – just with the global highlights, such as the cinema hits from Paramount Pictures or big cult brands like “Star Trek”, “South Park” and “SpongeBob”. Excellent new series are coming from Showtime, such as “The First Lady” with Michelle Pfeifer, Viola Davis and Gillian Anderson or “Super Pumped” with Joseph-Gordon Levitt and Uma Thurman. With “Tulsa King” we have the first series by and with Sylvester Stallone and a kind of insider tip: “Yellowjackets”, where series fans in the USA are already looking forward to the second season. “Yellowstone” with Kevin Costner and the other series from the universe of creator Taylor Sheridan such as “1883” also get a big stage in Germany with Paramount+.
So much for the US content, but how international is the content of Paramount+?
Very, because there are also numerous international projects that were initiated together with VIS, Paramount’s international studio – a total of fifty this year alone – including a large number of German commissioned productions. The German-British co-production “Simon Beckett’s The Chemistry of Death” and Jana Burbach’s “Anywhere” in development from our cooperation with Gaumont have already been announced. Today I can confirm two more new series made in Germany: “Der Scheich”, the story of an unprecedented impostor with Björn Meyer and Petra Schmidt-Schaller in the leading roles, is Dani Levy’s first series project and has been shooting since March.
And the second project?
Named “A Thin Line” and is a cybercrime thriller from the producers Jakob & Jonas Weydemann with Saskia Rosendahl and Hanna Hilsdorf in the leading roles of the “hacktivists” Anna and Benni. How far can justice go in the face of the climate catastrophe? Can justice even stand above existing law? The combination made us very curious. Incidentally, the sixth season of our Nickelodeon series “Spotlight” will also be available exclusively on Paramount+. With “Simon Beckett’s The Chemistry of Death”, “The Sheikh” and “A Thin Line” as well as “Spotlight” we have four German productions that will start at or shortly after the launch. And for 2023, in addition to “Anywhere”, we have five more projects in development or production.
What were you looking at when it came to the lineup for the launch of Paramount+?
Popular IPs were an issue, we covered that with the best-selling Simon Beckett’s The Chemistry of Death series, but then we also looked at working with exceptional talent like Dani Levy, the team at X Films and the Weydemann Bros, as well as particularly relevant topics being talked about, such as cybercrime and climate activism. Of course, we also looked at which genres are particularly in demand. We are an offer for a broad target group, so Thriller and Crime was an obvious choice. Not only does it need a “wow” factor to attract attention in terms of marketing, we also looked for stories with a special twist. We found that in all projects.
Inquiry about “Simon Beckett’s The Chemistry of Death”: The film is being shot in the UK with an international cast. What role does the German production company Nadcon Film play?
The project got rolling in exchange with Nadcon Film, a subsidiary of ZDF Studios. We then quickly decided to shoot the material in English and in Great Britain at suitable locations. The fans of Dr. Hunters expect an authentic realization – to put it bluntly: In the end we didn’t want to see a German Brunetti investigating in Venice. Therefore, Nadcon Film and Cuba Pictures also co-produce here, in cooperation with VIS. I can confirm the lead role in the series today: We are happy that Harry Treadaway, known from “Penny Dreadful” and “Star Trek: Picard”, the lead role of Dr. David Hunter will play. And around him we have an eclectic cast that includes Katie Leung, Nick Blood, Amy Nuttall, David Hayman and also some strong German names like Jeanne Goursaud and Hardy Krüger Jr.
Are you also planning non-fictional commissioned productions in Germany?
In any case. We have a lot planned, especially in the unscripted reality area. This is an important genre for us, where we can also rely on the heritage of a brand like MTV. There are some successful formats that we have not yet been able to implement in Germany because there was no platform for them. In concrete terms, this means that we will launch three local reality formats in the first six months after the launch of Paramount+.
Can you tell me more about this?
I can’t give many details and names at the moment. But it will be a dating format, a shore format and a competition format. And we have a lot more planned. The genre is extremely popular and, thanks to MTV, we at Paramount have great expertise that we will use to the full. At the start of Paramount+ there will already be thousands of hours of US programming from this genre in our catalog – and we will then supplement that locally with great, diverse casts.
Paramount has some free TV stations in the German market. How will the commissioned productions for Paramount+ be evaluated afterwards?
The topic of windowing is one that everyone is dealing with right now. In particular, of course, the streaming services that are also active in local linear television, like us. And of course we use that, for example we will also show the reality formats after Paramount+ on MTV – or also on Pluto TV. When Paramount+ launches, we’ll have the most comprehensive ecosystem of any market player: SVOD with access to Hollywood heritage and proprietary studios, a Free TV portfolio, and a Free Ad Supported service.
Ms. Schildknecht, thank you very much for the interview.