ViacomCBS President and CEO Bob Bakish says the company is looking to selectively add sports rights internationally while saying the Indian Premier League (IPL) bid is headed by its Indian joint venture (JV) Viacom18.
“So we’re looking at selectively adding sports products internationally, we’ve done some of it in Latin America, we’ve done some of it in Australia. The IPL thing in India is really Viacom18, which is our joint venture there,” Bakish told analysts on the fourth quarter earnings call while responding to a question from an analyst about IPL’s potential offering in India.
While stating that sport is additive and differentiating, Bakish cautioned that there is a need to be disciplined when bidding for sports rights. “So again, we think sport is additive and certainly a differentiator for us. You have to be disciplined in terms of how much you pay, and we have to be efficient in terms of extracting value, including through the co-use of other products. But sports are definitely part of our streaming playbook. And by the way, we benefit a lot from our CBS Sports heritage as we pursue that opportunity,” he added.
He also said the company’s Paramount+ streaming service has benefited from the sport in the United States. He noted that sports content also helps bring subscribers to taste entertainment content. “As to your question about international sports rights. Listen, this is just the beginning, but we’ve seen the real benefit of sports as part of Paramount+ in the United States. The NFL, as you you saw in one of the graphs, was the top source of subscriber additions for the product in 2021, and we’ve seen that we can cross consumers, engage them in sports, and get them to consume entertainment products , sports fans, for example, in Q4 were also heavy consumers of shows like SEAL Team and Mayor of Kingstown and 1883, and that’s key to our overall plan, our economy, and our return on investment. “, he explained.
Viacom18, which is a 51:49 joint venture between Reliance-backed TV18 and ViacomCBS, has ventured into the sports broadcast segment with Sports18 and Sports18 HD. Former Star Sports Ad sales manager Anil Jayaraj spearheads the network’s sports broadcasting business.
The network has already acquired rights to properties such as the FIFA World Cup, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue1, NBA and the Abu Dhabi T10 series. He is also in contention for upcoming media rights to properties such as Indian Premier League (IPL), International Cricket Council (ICC) and BCCI. The three properties are expected to fetch between Rs 50,000 crore and Rs 60,000 crore depending on competitive intensity.
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