During his keynote speech, the CEO of Paramount Global spoke about the group’s business model in regards to content distribution and explained the importance of the licensing model in today’s world.

Paramount Global president and CEO BOB Bakish was named Personality of the Year on the second day of Mipcom in Cannes.

After collecting his award on the Palais Des Festival Grand Auditorium stage, Bakish delivered a Media Mastermind Keynote in which he discussed the state of the company’s streaming business and the critical importance of content licensing to the firm’s business model.

Bakish recalled how he gave a keynote speech at Mipcom 2011 when he was CEO of Viacom International Media Networks. “The focus of that talk was how our business was changing, with new demographics, new distribution models, and new metrics. I talked about the need to be ready for change or risk irrelevancy. That message was true then and it is true now.”

Looking at the current landscape, he said this thesis is particularly relevant to major media companies as they work out how to balance their vast investments in streaming with their commitment to distribution as a business model. Speaking to a packed Mipcom crowd, Bakish said: “Content licencing is a business that has strategic and financial value for Paramount. While our peers were pulling back content and putting up walled gardens, we never left.”

Stressing that content licencing “is a fundamental part of our economic model”, Bakish acknowledged that the media industry is currently in an economic trough that has been deeper than expected because of the downturn in ad revenues. But he expressed optimism about the company’s performance. He cited a major new content deal in Greece and the continued strong growth of the company’s free streaming platform Pluto TV.

“I’m often asked why Pluto TV is a separate brand,” he said.” And the reason is that we feel it’s very important to distinguish our free programming offering from our paid offering. For us, it feels like branding 101 to differentiate the two.”