As consumer behavior continues to be unpredictable with what they watch, where they watch and if their experience is ad supported, marketers need a solution that takes away the guesswork and offers a level of predictability and safety. Enter EyeQ, the lovechild of the Viacom and CBS merger.
We spoke with Pete Chelala, VP Digital Media, ViacomCBS to learn more about Viacom’s current offerings, why brands should invest in their services today, and what we can expect to see from their streaming portfolio in the near future.
Q. How would you describe ViacomCBS to brands and advertisers?
To audiences, ViacomCBS is a family of storied brands that entertain and inform fans of all ages from the mobile screen to the silver screen.
To Madison Ave, ViacomCBS is a trusted partner that puts brands in the path of culture, compelling narrative and live events with a robust media stack stemming from; high thread count inventory across all access points (broadcast, cable and streaming), provides the ability to engage and inspire across all social platforms at scale and content creation from the ground up with influencers and TV talent to drive loyalty and commerce. And as “real life” becomes the next platform, brands can work with ViacomCBS in the physical space where deep rooted connections are fostered around passion fueled IP.
Q. Both Viacom and CBS have existing streaming services, which combined have more than 10 million paying subscribers. What makes ViacomCBS unique among its competitors? Also, how do you build a content strategy across such a diverse portfolio? How do you decide where the content lives?
ViacomCBS’s approach to “attention” has never wavered over the decades of entertaining our global audience. We have always focused on Relevancy (keeping our brands hot) and Consumption patterns (following eyeballs) and this is how we ensure the content our fans love is available on the screens they can’t live without.
As consumers unbundle and captain their own journey through the content ecosystem, they care about three things:
- Ease of Use
- Abundance of Content (more bang for your buck)
Streaming does not exist solely in the subscription space. Our streaming portfolio lives across the entire pay model so that there is ‘something for everyone”.
Our streaming points of entry include:
- (v)MVPDs, aka LIVE TV e.g.: Fios, Xfinity, Sling, YouTubeTV, etc…
- Free via PlutoTV
- Paid via Paramount+
How do we compete in this crowded field? The same way we always have…we invest in quality content, tap into our vault, which is laden with dozens of franchises and thousands of shows/movies and price it right. PlutoTV is free and the ad supported version of Paramount+ is $4.99.
Streaming, while the talk of the town, is still in the early innings. Every major media company now has their D2C product in-market and are building audiences via exclusives, originals, news/sports and in cases like P+, Theatrical releases. This is a huge priority for VCBS and since we are a narrative media company, we are experts at making content in volume and getting it out to large audiences.
Q. Since the merger in December 2020, what’s top of mind for ViacomCBS?
- Entertaining audiences at scale across the globe
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI): Working hard to reflect our audiences both in front and behind the camera
- Growing Monthly Active Users for PlutoTV and growing subs for Paramount+
- Getting the workforce back in the office safely
Q. Your streaming service builds off CBS All Access and includes Paramount Pictures movies, which have been leased to other streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. What can we expect from Viacom in the near future?
ViacomCBS rebranded CBS All Access to Paramount+ in March 2021. The new super service offers Live Sports from the NFL to UEFA, Live News and a wealth of content genres ranging from Late Night to Reality TV and Nickelodeon for kids to iconic movies like Top Gun 2 (coming soon)!
We benefit from several production studios and one of the largest content archives in Hollywood. This enables us to create, lease and sell content to third parties in an effort to expand our fanbase to consumers who may not have Paramount+ (yet). We want our IP to travel to widen our audience, which stimulates discovery and leads eyeballs back to our offerings.
Q. Can you tell us aboutViacomCBS EyeQ, the new connected video advertising platform due for release this fall and how it will help advertisers?
EyeQ is a single line-item video offering made up of our entire portfolio of brands, inclusive of 140K hours of television, over 4K feature films, top tier sporting events and culture’s biggest moments. It’s also the combination of our entire streaming footprint, delivering media across SVOD, FAST and LIVE TV via (v)MVPDs.
According to ViacomCBS, here’s a breakdown:
Video – ViacomCBS EyeQ Video is the anchor of ViacomCBS EyeQ, a connected ecosystem of our digital video offerings across all distribution outlets at all price points and across our leading brands and platforms, including Paramount+, Pluto, CBS, CBSN, CBS Sports HQ, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nick, VH1, Paramount Network and ET Live. One access point for advertising partners to ViacomCBS’ 60 million monthly full-episode viewers.
In a nutshell:
- One line across all channels, sources, and platforms (horizontal reach)
- Intent driven impressions in a well-lit environment
- Flexible transaction types
- Brand and budget safe
- Content bundles for more narrow needs if the entire portfolio is too broad.
Creative – ViacomCBS EyeQ Creative collaborates with advertising partners to build campaigns focusing on branded programming, influence, and live events. This combination of capabilities breaks the constraints of standard ad placements.
Social – ViacomCBS EyeQ Social combines TV favorites, youth-focused originals, and share-worthy content to our partners across social. Averaging 137 million monthly unique fans on Facebook and YouTube alone, ViacomCBS reaches half of all Americans across leading social platforms. The company also regularly ranks first among media companies in key metrics including subscribers (1.9 billion), monthly views (7.9 billion), and monthly engagements (201 million).
It’s a content centric, platform agnostic approach to video buying that offers quality in quantity with efficiencies that clients appreciate.
Q. What is the biggest challenge facing brands / advertisers as it relates to streaming services?
As attention shifts to a non-rated model there are several challenges that face brands including:
- Impression compression – There is anxiety in the market around supply.
- Pricing – As Linear dollars move to streaming, pricing could change.
- Measurement – Changes among cross-platform audience reach and performance metrics.
- Transparency and brand safety – With so much more content ingested into streaming it’s hard to get a handle on what brands don’t want to align with.
- Education – A clean look at the landscape (it’s very noisy out there, which creates confusion) and buying practices including finding quality scale, understanding frequency, targeting and tracking, transactional methods, and KPIs.