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Paramount+ to Remove Some International Originals (Exclusive)

Paramount Global’s streaming service Paramount+ is removing some international original content across its markets and will not debut some planned programming sourced outside the U.S. as part of the entertainment giant’s goal of “managing costs” and “maximizing content with the biggest impact,” including a focus on big U.S. studio franchises and a reduction in local, international originals.

On Wednesday, Paramount+ in foreign markets started removing such international original fare as the film At Midnight, starring Top Gun: Maverick breakout Monica Barbaro, Brazilian series Marcelo, Marmelo, Martelo, and U.K. drama No Escape.

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In addition, some international content previously set to debut on the streamer across markets will not launch on it, including German thriller series Turmschatten, Italian series Miss Fallaci, which tells “the true story of one of the most controversial Italian and international journalism icons,” Oriana Fallaci and
German anthology series Zeit Verbrechen, starring Sandra Hüller and Lars Eidinger, according to sources familiar with the situation. Other international programming will remain on the platform.

Paramount didn’t respond immediately to an inquiry about the financial impact of the changes and how many titles would be affected. Some of the international titles will be leaving Paramount+ in the U.S. as well, and some of the affected content is expected to be distributed by Paramount Global Distribution, sources said.

The move comes as Hollywood giants continue to prune their streaming platforms’ content portfolios to focus on the biggest hits and license programming to third parties. Among others, Warner Bros. Discovery more than a year ago canceled or pulled from its services such titles as MinxWestworld and The Nevers, while in-development projects like Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 3 were axed. Later, the Walt Disney Co. took titles off Hulu and Disney+, including Y: The Last Man, Little DemonBig Shot, The Mighty Ducks, Turner & Hooch, Willow and The World According to Jeff Goldblum. 

In a memo on Jan. 25, Paramount president and CEO Bob Bakish urged his staff to focus on “execution” amid deal chatter surrounding the company and called earnings growth the key priority for 2024. Given that “Hollywood hits are the biggest draw,” he said the firm would focus “on the most powerful, resonant franchises, films and series that perform across platforms globally.”

U.S. studio franchises, films and series with global mass appeal are not only in high demand with partners, but also perform best with audiences worldwide, according to Paramount research.

While this means “fewer local, international originals for our platforms,” Bakish emphasized that such content would still be part of Paramount’s programming mix. For example, he highlighted that “our leading free-to-air networks in Australia, Argentina, Chile and the U.K. … will continue to have a strong pipeline of local content.” Those networks are Channel 5 in the U.K., Network 10 in Australia, Chilevisión in Chile and Telefe in Argentina. Their continued use of local content will also ensure that Paramount complies with local obligations where necessary.

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