Catch me if you can – will Paramount+ take on Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max?


Paramount+, the home to so many of our favourites. What would life have been like without our daily fix of Nickelodeon’s Rugrats as a child, a sprinkling of MTV classics such as Teen Mom and Catfish as a teenager, and so many of our all time favourites like Forrest Gump and Grease today. Miserable. So why doesn’t Paramount+ (33 million subscribers) have the same subscriber count as the likes of Disney+ (130 million), HBO Max (74 million) and Netflix (222 million)?

An obvious answer to that is that it wasn’t as quick to get to the scene as the others, only launching in March 2021 whilst HBO Max launched in May 2020, Disney+ in November 2019 and ‘first to market and category leader’ Netflix in 2012. Don’t forget, Paramount+ is also only available in Australia, Canada, Latin America, the Middle East (as a pay TV channel), the Nordics, and the United States, whilst Netflix is available in over 190 countries, and Disney+ in 18…

In today’s climate however, the powers that these streaming giants hold are constantly shifting. With it being so easy for users to jump from one streaming service to the next, none of the streamers are safe and should be en pointe at all times.

Media Placement Value

The above image shows a table ranking the Entertainment Streaming Apps according to their Media Placement Value (MPV) throughout 2021 on Apple TV in the U.S. MPV is the value of a media placement according to its position on the digital shelf. If you’re in the table, you’re certainly capturing the majority of user attention on this platform with your merchandising efforts. With Paramount+ recently announcing that Showtime originals will be joining the service (for free in a single user experience) the App must take this opportunity to sucker-punch the competition with a ‘shout it from the rooftops’ digital campaign to level up its MPV score.

So, how can Paramount+ take full advantage of this opportunity to start chomping on a bigger slice of the subscription number pie? It’s all about being seen, and in the most engaging way possible. Sounds simple, right? With 800 new films released each year in the U.S. alone (reference: Looper Insights), all trying to knock each other out of the spotlight, it’s a pretty daunting stage to be trying to get onto. Not to mention the new Apps, television series, and catalogue title campaigns that take place on the digital storefronts.

The first step is to actually understand your MPV and what this is compared to your competitors. So let’s say Paramount+’s MPV was much lower than Disney+’s for a very similar New Release launch – what did Disney+ do in order to hit that, that P+ could try for their own campaigns? Could it be that they are buying the best real estate, strong arming editors for free placement or offering a juicy red apple of a discount, or that their promotional artwork is impossible to ignore? With P+’s ambitious goal of hitting 100 million streaming subscribers by 2024 (reference: The Verge), it will be vital to keep a keen eye on the competition for a chance to get ahead.

P+ will also need to make sure that their promotions are being displayed in the areas of the digital storefront that will drive the biggest return in new subscriptions. It’s important to remember that all of these ‘digital shelves’ are different, so this space will look different on Apple TV versus a Samsung TV or an Amazon Firestick. This means constructing a different promotional strategy per store and territory, which will need to be coordinated with Marketing and Account Management teams to ensure the most optimised materials per storefront and negotiation for the best digital real estate. With P+ announcing its imminent launch in the UK (reference: Empire Online) and France (reference: Deadline), it’s going to be important to perfect the art of laser-focussed, killer campaigns before the floodgates open to the rest of the world and the momentum is lost, as well as your pending subscribers.

Once they have all of these aspects planned out and strategized to perfection, they’ll be increasing customer acquisition and reducing churn quicker than Netflix could say “The Queen’s Gambit Season 2”. If you don’t think you need to be planning your digital promotions in this much detail, I would like to remind you that the human attention span has dropped to eight seconds, having shrunk almost 25% in only the past couple of years. And not to totally freak you out, but the number of entertainment streaming services has also grown at a compounded annual rate of 74% over the past two years (reference: Forbes). Time to make your marketing spend count for a mic drop!