Paramount Hopes the Super Bowl Can Power Up Its Streaming Business

The state of the streaming business can be summed up in the very beginning of the new Super Bowl commercial for Paramount+: “On Paramount Mountain, the stakes get higher.”

With the streaming business at a tipping point, as Netflix pulls ahead of the pack and everyone else is scrambling to turn a profit, Paramount Global is betting that the single biggest TV event of the year, the Super Bowl, can help propel its streaming business over the metaphorical peak.

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It’s part of what Domenic DiMeglio, executive VP, CMO and head of data for Paramount Streaming, calls in an interview “a huge moment, not just for Paramount+, but more broadly for Paramount streaming.”

Paramount+ will stream the big game, hopefully driving new subscribers (though it will not be exclusive, like Peacock’s NFL wild card play), but the company is also using the game to launch new campaigns for its two streaming platforms.

The company is planning a new installment of its Paramount Mountain campaign, in what it is calling its “most star-studded chapter yet,” and is unveiling a new brand identity for the free streaming service Pluto TV, hoping to convince some of the 100 or so million viewers to give the FAST service a try in what will be its first-ever Super Bowl ad.

In the Paramount+ spot, Sir Patrick Stewart stars, joined by Drew Barrymore, Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa, Jeff Probst, Peppa Pig, Master Chief and, importantly, Arnold from Hey Arnold!

After failing to tame the peak, Stewart dons old-time football gear and grabs the one character with a football-shaped head to see if that can help them get over-the-top.

“I think we we felt like we needed to raise the bar even more given that we are the streaming home of the Super Bowl, that the game is going to be broadcast on CBS, we’ll have a game broadcast on Nickelodeon and so for the company it’s just a huge moment,” DiMeglio says. “And so really when we approached the spot for Paramount+, we were like how do we top ourselves yet again?”

Watch the extended version here:

The spot continues a tradition of commercials featuring various Paramount talent in the big game (Paramount bought a spot last year featuring Sylvester Stallone).

“People can’t wait to see who we’re going to put together next and what adventure and highjinks that we’re going to have on the mountain,” DiMeglio says. “Patrick has been an amazing partner, a great brand voice for Paramount+ over the years. He’s got a great affinity for the Paramount brand, and so we thought he would be amazing partner. This being the final year that we have Picard on the service, we thought we’d do something really special with Patrick for the Super Bowl.”

As for Pluto TV, it is launching its new brand identity with a Super Bowl spot about a “couch potato farm.”

“This is Pluto TV country. Here on this farm, we grow couch potatoes,” the voiceover begins, adding that the couch potatoes (actors in potato costumes) are “fed with the finest content from Pluto TV.”

“I think that what we’re gonna see the Super Bowl for Pluto TV is the culmination of many months of work, as we worked on a brand identity refresh for Pluto TV, and a set of spots where the hero spot that’ll debut in the game we think again will really entertain audiences,” DiMeglio says. “It’s a spot for Pluto TV that feels irreverent while at the same time doing really heavy lifting in terms of the brand priorities, just in terms of establishing and reminding consumers you know what Pluto TV stands for: The amazing breadth and depth of premium content.

“And then, probably most importantly and what consumers love about it is that it’s free and it’s easy to use,” he adds. “I mean, it’s really lean back television that you can really connect with, and we have something for every mood.”

The spot will kick off a larger brand campaign for Pluto.

With Paramount’s own future up in the air, not to mention its streaming ambitions, it’s a big bet at a critical moment.

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