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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Viacom Africa on the new Paramount Network pay-TV channel launched in America: 'We will explore opportunities to build the brand in the African market'.


Viacom Africa says its thrilled about the launch of Viacom's flagship new premium, general entertainment pay-TV channel - the Paramount Network going live today in the United States - with Viacom Africa's boss telling TVwithThinus that it will look at opportunities to build the brand in the African market.

While not saying it in specific words, these opportunities could include launching the Paramount Network as a linear TV channel in South Africa and Africa on direct-to-home (DTH) pay-TV satellite services like MultiChoice's DStv, StarSat or Kwesé TV, or on over-the-top (OTT) streaming services like Cell C black or DEOD that carry linear TV channels.

A year ago, in February 2017, Viacom announced that it will be creating the Paramount Network in 2018 through scrapping its one channel, Spike TV, and that it will remake, rebrand and relaunch Spike TV in early 2018 as The Paramount Network - it's most important new channel.

The Paramount channel as a premium, general entertainment channel will carry "bold original scripted and non-scripted series" with Viacom that's moving its best shows to this channel and rolling out several brand-new scripted series and drama series on this channel.

Programming on the Paramount Network will include brand-new programming and series like Waco, Heathers (pictured), American Woman, Yellowstone, First Wives Club, Velvet and Accused along with shows like Lip Sync Battle, Ink Master, Bar Rescue, Bellator MMA and more.

Viacom International Media Networks already operates a Paramount Channel (a film channel) in some parts of the world - but not in South Africa and Africa - and will likely just morph and change these placeholder channels (Paramount Channel and Spike TV) in other territories into The Paramount Network over time to align it with the premium American brand that is now being created.

How exactly does VIMN Africa see the Paramount Network's importance and relevance for South Africa and Africa?

"We are thrilled for the launch of Paramount Network in the United States and will explore opportunities to build the brand in the African market," says Alex Okosi, VIMN Africa and BET International executive vice-president and managing director.

"VIMN Africa is always looking at ways to optimize our business and brands to appeal to the broad, diverse audience on the continent."

"Inspired by over a century of cinema, Paramount is a powerful brand that resonates with audiences globally. With 12 locally scheduled versions around the world, the Paramount Channel is Viacom International Media Network’s fastest growing brand."

"We are thrilled for the launch of Paramount Network in the United States and will explore opportunities to build the brand in the African market.”

Kevin Kay, Paramount Network president, said that the new channel wants "to be the definitive new home for premium storytelling", and that "our goal is to change the game of how viewers experience high-end scripted" TV content.

Paramount Network president of development Keith Cox said that Paramount Network is going to be famous for big bold originals. We want to make linear TV urgent again."