Paramount Combines Streamers Pluto & My5 In UK
Paramount is to combine its AVoD platform Pluto TV with BVoD My5 in the UK. In a move that could be the precursor to the breaking down of barriers between AVoD and BVoD, the new streamer will launch in the market in the second half of next year, with more details coming in the next few months. The platform will combine My5’s collection of Paramount UK network Channel 5‘s content such as All Creatures Great and Small with Pluto, which carries numerous FAST Channels. Pluto has recently expanded annual revenue beyond $1B, according to Paramount, and is available in 35 markets. FAST once again dominated much of the chatter at Mipcom Cannes and Paramount Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Business Development Officer Jeff Shultz spoke at the confab’s now-annual FAST Summit. “As we look ahead to an IP-delivered future, this is the right time for us to fully leverage the Paramount ecosystem and combine the reach and scale of our free-to-air network in the UK with the global success of our FAST service,” said Maria Kyriacou, Paramount’s President, Broadcast & Studios, International Markets. Olivier Jollet, EVP and General Manager, Pluto TV, Paramount International Markets, said the new streamer will “enable users in the UK to have a strong BVoD experience, a solid live TV experience and a FAST experience.” Alongside SVoD Paramount+, he said Paramount is building a streaming ecosystem, and he pointed to other deals such as Pluto’s with Viaplay in the Nordics and Corus in Canada.
Aussie Producer Launches Tech Biz To Facilitate VR Cinema
Australia’s White Spark Pictures has launched Surround Sync, a business aimed at delivering its patent-pending immersive experience tech into cinemas and other venues. The Surround Sync tech syncs cinema screens with VR headsets, which White Spark removes the need for significant infrastructure investment and makes it cost-effective. The proprietary ‘plug and play’ software and hardware tech can be delivered via Dolby Atmos, surround sound and 360-degree immersive headphone audio. White Spark is known for VR docs such as The Antartica Experience and Beyond the Milky Way, and its new tech operation will also distribute third-party VR films and immersive content. Surround Sync MD and COO Benn Ellard said virtual reality “is an incredibly powerful and inspiring storytelling — or as we say, ‘storyliving’ — medium, but, until now, the technology just hadn’t been there to deliver stories to mass audiences. Surround Sync changes all of that and we know from our early positive conversations with people in the industry, the opportunities are limitless.”
’14 Peaks’ Producer Noah Adds Development Chief
The UK sports doc specialist behind Netflix’s 14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible has hired a former KEO Films and Fulwell 73 exec to be its Head of Development. Adam Cohen has take on the position after leading a development team at Sunderland Till I Die producer Fulwell 73, where he oversaw Sky docs Supergreed and Who Killed the KLF, Netflix’s Captains and The World Cup and Prime Video’s Mud, Sweat and Tears. He also worked on development of Jack Whitehall’s Training Days for YouTube Originals and Amongst the Stars for Disney+. Noah’s upcoming projects include five global feature docs financed through its content fund, including one of track and field legend Carl Lewis, which has LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s athlete empowerment brand Uninterrupted attached.
Channel 4-Backed Freedom Scripted Expands To London & Berlin
Channel 4-backed drama producer Freedom Scripted has opened offices in London and Berlin while promoting two of its development staff. The company, which has a first look deal with All3Media International and is develping a range of drama series, is looking to strike more international co-pros particularly in Portugal and Germany. Nancy Napper Canter has been promoted to head of Development in London and will overse that office in Somerset House, while Tessa Buchanan is upped to Development Exec in Freedom Scripted’s Glasgow HQ. The German office is in Berlin and will be used to focus on international relationships. “Over the past year, we’ve been focusing on growing the business whilst taking account of significant challenges to nations and regions indies and within UK PSB commissioning,” said Creative Director and founder Mike Ellen. “We will continue to support creativity and production in Scotland by being as present as possible in London, where most of the key decisions are still made. Meanwhile, having an address in Berlin has been an ambition since Freedom was founded and we’re super excited by the creative possibilities that offers.” Freedom Scripted was backed by the Channel 4 Indie Growth Fund last year.