CANNES: The Paramount Network, a cable and satellite channel set to be officially launched by Viacom next year, believes it has some in-built advantages in terms of both brand recognition and programming as it seeks to build an audience.

Kevin Kay, President of Viacom’s Spike, TV Land, and CMT networks – and who will take on the same role at the Paramount Network – discussed this topic at the 2017 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

More specifically, he described the thinking behind rebranding Spike as the Paramount Network, with the new channel very deliberately eschewing its predecessor’s male-led focus in order to target a wider audience. (For more details, read WARC’s report: The Paramount Network: Spike’s female-friendly rebrand.)

And Paramount, which originally dates back to 1912, can call on unique brand recognition and equity in pursuing this goal, as it has an iconic legacy covering film and television alike.

“There was a real opportunity, I think, to pair Paramount as a TV channel with Paramount the TV studio, and with Paramount the movie studio,” said Kay.

Mixing this heritage with present-day media savvy – and a slate of programming intended to match premium cable content providers in terms of quality – gives the fledgling network a strong starting point.

“The opportunity to take what is Paramount – and 105 years of rich and great storytelling history, and the development of tremendous characters in that entire library of Paramount IP – and be able to exploit it in scripted programming was really the big opportunity. Because Paramount is such a great brand that everybody knows, and [it] represents great quality,” said Kay.

In fact, the Paramount Network – which has commissioned shows starring Hollywood actors like Kevin Costner and Alicia Silverstone – already has some surefire successes on its hands, as it is exporting shows from Spike that are popular with a diverse viewership.

These offerings include “Lip Sync Battle”(where big-name stars mime along with pop songs), “Ink Master” (a reality competition for tattoo shops), and “Bar Rescue” (another reality offering that helps turnaround struggling hostelries).

“The one thing that I always thought was standing between us and getting to the finish line of general entertainment with a more male/female audience was actually the ‘Spike’ name itself,” Kay said.

“I think the brand Paramount gives us a nice start there, and I think where Spike has evolved to also gives us a little bit of a head start.”

Data sourced from WARC