“People watch TV to relax – that won’t change”
It’s a tactic that could be repeated, with 20 original shows ordered in the UK, including Sexy Beast, A Gentleman in Moscow and Flatshare.
“You can see how an American global company can behave in a way that supports the ecology of public service broadcasting because we are the living, breathing example of that,” Kyriacou says.
“At the same time, we will launch a streaming service that is enjoying great momentum with 6.8 million new subscribers added in the first quarter.”
Paramount’s mark on British broadcasting in recent years is evident, with Channel 5 being held up by ministers as an example of how a British station can thrive under American ownership, in their drive to privatize Channel 4.
The company has been strongly linked to the sale process managed by JP Morgan bankers and led by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries – despite 96% of respondents to a government consultation opposing the plans.
Will Paramount pursue a deal? Kyriacou says there is nothing to comment on until the legislative process is complete and there are more details on what will be sold.
However, she says her support will remain for maintaining plurality for public service broadcasters, including in terms of advertising.
Advertisers have previously told the Telegraph they are worried about the “undue dominance” ITV and Sky could gain if they buy Channel 4 and merge their advertising business. Paramount’s advertising sales are handled in the UK by Sky.
“It’s about choice for audiences, choice for producers supporting the creative community we have here in the UK, and choice for advertisers,” she adds.
“Anything that diminishes this plurality, for example reducing the number of advertising agencies, would have a negative impact.”
Much like Kyriacou’s countdown, the clock is ticking towards the privatization of Channel 4 – which will fundamentally reshape the fabric of British broadcasting.
If Paramount emerges with Channel 4 and Channel 5 in its locker, perhaps the BBC will worry less about Netflix and more about the newest entrant in the subscription streaming boom.