CBS All Access is poised for a major overhaul in 2021. The streaming service will return as Paramount Plus, Variety reports. The name change is a byproduct of last year’s merger between Viacom and CBS Corp. Variety reports that ViacomCBS president-CEO Robert M. Bakish spoke about the benefits of the diverse media library that would emerge from the rebrand: “With Paramount Plus, we’re excited to establish one global streaming brand… that will draw on the sheer breadth and depth of of the ViacomCBS portfolio.”
Bakish was interviewed for the CNBC news program Squawk Box after the name change was announced, where he revealed that ViacomCBS initiated a “preview launch” over the summer. According to Bakish’s Squawk Box interview, the integration of television programming with “almost two hundred Paramount movies” resulted in a record high monthly stream rate. CNBC posted an excerpt from the interview on their official Twitter account.
Are there too many streaming services available to consumers? “Overwhelmingly, people will subscribe to more than one service,” ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish said after the company announced its CBS All Access streaming service will be rebranded as Paramount+. https://t.co/TCnIDU6N1H pic.twitter.com/cVCQM649hk
— CNBC (@CNBC) September 15, 2020
The launch of CBS All Access came in 2015 when CBS Corp. joined the streaming video on demand market in search of network growth opportunities, according to Variety. Several news outlets observed that the introduction of CBS All Access resulted in increased retransmission revenues. According to The Hollywood Reporter, at the time of the merger, “continued retransmission consent fee gains… were widely expected to boost results, as they did.” Media Play News had figures to back it up. According to their findings, “retransmission compensation, reverse comp and virtual MVPD [Multichannel Video Programming Distributor] revenue grew [by] 18%.”
As of the end of June 2020, CBS All Access and Showtime’s Internet-based streaming platform had a combined subscriber base of over sixteen million users, via Deadline. That subscriber base, however, is solely concentrated in the United States. Per Variety‘s report, the name-change is partially motivated by “efforts to expand the service overseas, where Paramount Pictures [is] the company’s most established studio brand.” Viacom’s purchase of Paramount Communications took place in 1994, concluding a bidding war with QVC Networks, as reported by Variety at the time.
Paramount Plus will allegedly launch next year with content from Viacom networks (Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central, etc.), a library of Paramount feature films, news and live sports from CBS stations, and a set of recently announced “on-demand originals,” via Variety. The slate of scripted originals coming to Paramount Plus in 2021 includes a reboot of the BET dramedy The Game, a limited series based on the behind-the-scenes stories about the Paramount film The Godfather, and a CIA drama from Sicario scribe Taylor Sheridan, as reported by Deadline.
Full access to The Paramount Channel is available via various TV providers. CBS All Access is currently available at $5.99 a month with limited commercials, or $9.99 for an ad-free streaming experience. Subscribers to Showtime‘s streaming platform pay $10.99 a month for ad-free viewing.