Ben Frow, Chief Content Officer at ViacomCBS Networks UK, has revealed that the business would be commissioning local content for the new SVOD service Paramount+, set to launch in the UK in 2022.
Speaking at the Edinburgh Television Festival, Frow outlined plans for Paramount+ to feature high-end, original drama and documentary content from the UK, alongside a catalogue of hit shows and movies from ViacomCBS’ brands and studios.
Frow called on UK indies to pitch series which had UK resonance and global appeal, confirming that the business had a dedicated budget to invest in premium local content.
He said, “It’s about great content. We’re starting to work on our Paramount+ factual and drama slates – all ideas are welcome.”
A Commissioners’ session which followed Frow’s interview featured Sebastian Cardwell, Deputy Director of Programmes; Daniel Pearl, Commissioning Editor, Unscripted; Adrian Padmore, Commissioning Editor, Factual & Entertainment and Denise Seneviratne, Commissioning Editor, Factual & Entertainment.
Discussing his dual role commissioning drama for both Paramount+ and Channel 5, Sebastian Cardwell said he was focused on producing premium scripted content and looking to work with great talent, on and off screen. While Cardwell refused to be drawn on budget levels, he stressed, “if the idea is good enough, we will go for it”.
Daniel Pearl, overseeing unscripted originals for Paramount+ and Channel 5, welcomed the opportunity to develop premium shows for a global audience and asked indies to submit a broad range of ideas covering anthologies, feature documentaries, boxsets and more.
He said, “Ours is an ongoing commitment to commissioning premium shows for SVOD and we are listening to the best ideas out there”.
In August, ViacomCBS announced plans to roll out Paramount+ in key European markets including UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, building on its partnership with Sky.
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