Dec 02, 2019

The film based on Paramount Pictures’ classic 1984 Eddie Murphy comedy is the latest in a string of third-party production announcements from Viacom.

Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley is getting a new life. Paramount Pictures has licensed the rights to Beverly Hills Cop to Netflix, which will produce a new film based on that IP, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish announced in an earnings call with investors today.

The deal is part of Viacom’s strategy to expand its global studio business by selling content and licensing IP to third-party platforms. Viacom also announced earlier this week that Nickelodeon signed a multi-year deal to produce original, animated films and series based on the Nick library and new IP for kids and families.

While most media conglomerates are pulling content from third-party platforms, Viacom has a multi-pronged development and distribution approach. Original and library content airs on its linear networks as well as its direct-to-consumer services such as Pluto TV, BET+, Noggin, and Comedy Central Now.

Meanwhile, thanks to its studio model, Viacom continues to license library IP to and produce original content for third-party platforms, such as Amazon’s Jack Ryan and Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. It was recently announced that HBO Max will begin to stream Comedy Central’s South Park in June 2020. And, as Bakish also mentioned during the earnings call, Comedy Central Productions and Trevor Noah signed an agreement to develop a comedy series for Quibi, the short-form mobile platform from Jeffrey Katzenberg scheduled to launch in the spring.

"We need to be one of the biggest suppliers of kids content, so if we remain only on linear, we are not in the future."

Ramsey Naito

EVP of Animation Production and Development, Nickelodeon

Brian Robbins, Nickelodeon’s president, who will become ViacomCBS’ head of kids and family entertainment once the merger between Viacom and CBS closes, explained the studio strategy in a statement: “Nickelodeon’s next step forward is to keep expanding beyond linear platforms, and our broader content partnership with Netflix is a key path toward that goal.”

“The Nickelodeon Animation Studio is home to the world-class artists and storytellers behind some of the most iconic characters and shows ever made, and our head of animation, Ramsey Naito, has been building on that legacy over the past year by ramping up development and production exponentially,” he added, referring to the studio that was launched in 2018.

Naito recently spoke to the Viacom Newsroom about the fierce competition for talent since Netflix has expanded its animation offerings. She also spoke of the need to be everywhere Nickelodeon’s audience is.

“We need to be one of the biggest suppliers of kids content, so if we remain only on linear, we are not in the future,” says Naito. “Very soon Nickelodeon's footprint across digital and streamers or SVOD will be strong enough where we're then judged by the sum of all parts.”

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