Paramount Pictures has launched Paramount Players, a new production division that will develop, produce and market feature films in conjunction with Viacom units like Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central.
Former AwesomenessTV founder and CEO Brian Robbins will serve as president of Paramount Players, reporting to Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos. Robbins will work with leaders from each of Viacom’s flagship brands to focus on talent and properties that Paramount Players can develop into distinct feature films. These co-branded films will be marketed and distributed by Paramount Pictures with a large emphasis on digital and social media campaigns.
Robbins’ extensive knowledge in the world of digital media and social media marketing stems from his years at Gen Z-focused, DreamWorks Animation-owned AwesomenessTV. (In December 2014, Hearst Corporation took a 25% stake in AwesomenessTV for US$81.25 million, and Verizon took up a 25% share in the company last April, at which time the company was valued at US$650 million.)
Before his departure from AwesomenessTV earlier this year, Robbins was responsible for producing Expelled, Guidance, Foursome, t@gged, Freakish and the recent theatrical release Before I Fall.
Robbins’ experience with the Gen Z audience plays into Viacom’s new strategy to focus on significant and increased resource investment for Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and MTV, as well as digital content output. To that effect, Nickelodeon and Paramount have already been working on a slate of four new theatrical films, with the first, Amusement Park, set to premiere in summer 2018. It will be followed by a Nick TV series adaptation in 2019.
Viacom reported revenues of US$3.3 billion in Q1 2017, representing a 5% increase versus the same period a year ago. The growth was driven by improved theatrical revenues, which shot up a whopping 104% to US$192 million.