Viacom’s proprietary streaming service, CBS All Access, will become Paramount +, the company announced this morning. The name change, which will take place over the next year, is intended to better reflect the expanded range of content that came to service following the merger of Viacom and CBS in 2019, including content from brands such as BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Smithsonian Channel . TV Land, VH1, Paramount Pictures and other sports programs. In addition, Paramount + will expand internationally in 2021, initially to markets such as Australia, Latin America and the Nordic countries.
ViacomCBS ‘ Plans to rename the service were already known. The company had announced to investors earlier this year that a renamed and expanded service would arrive sometime this summer. Later that timeframe was moved to 2021
Bob Bakish, CEO of ViacomCBS, had previously described the company’s plans for the expanded service as a plan that would allow him to showcase the company’s largest franchises and extensive library, but also the company’s IP for original content to use, as has already been done, for example the multiple “Star Trek” series and the spin-off “The Good Fight” from “The Good Wife”. The renamed service would continue to promote the company’s sports offerings, including the continued broadcast of NFL games as well as games from other leagues such as the NCAA and PGA.
All of this would be done on CBS All Access’ existing technology platform, not a new service built from scratch.
ViacomCBS announces today that the new Paramount + service will also include an expanded range of originals. This includes “The Offer”, a limited series about the making of “The Godfather”; Taylor Sheridan’s CIA spy drama “Lioness”; a revised version of MTV’s “Behind the Music” that will focus on the past 40 years; a true crime documentary “The Real Criminal Minds” based on the fictional hit TV; and a revival of BET’s “The Game”.
These shows will join previously announced plans for the new children’s original series “Kamp Koral” from Nickelodeon’s “Spongebob Squarepants” and the service’s plan to be the SVOD home for “The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run”.
Paramount + will continue to include existing originals such as “The Good Fight”, “The Twilight Zone”, “Tooning Out the News”, “No Activity”, “Why Women Kill”, “Interrogation”, “The Thomas John Experience” , “Tell me a story”, “Star Trek: Discovery”, “Star Trek: Picard”, “Star Trek: Lower Decks” and the upcoming series “The Stand”, “The Man Who Fell To Earth”, ” The Harper House, “Guilty Party” and “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds”.
The company says the wider range this summer has already affected the service’s viewership and demographics. After adding the new content, including over 3,500 TV episodes from all ViacomCBS brands, CBS All Access broke its records for total monthly streams in August and had one of the best months for new subscribers. These users were also measurably younger than the service’s average subscriber age, in part due to the addition of UEFA and other content.
As CBS All Access nears its rebranding to Paramount + in 2021, it will continue to expand its content offering to reach more than 30,000 episodes and films, and continue to add new originals from brands like BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and others develop.
“Paramount is an iconic and famous brand loved by consumers around the world. It stands for quality, integrity and world-class storytelling,” said Bob Bakish, President and CEO of ViacomCBS, in a statement of the changes. “We are excited to establish a global streaming brand in the broad pay segment with Paramount + that leverages the sheer breadth and depth of the ViacomCBS portfolio to offer an exceptional collection of content for everyone.”
Paramount + in particular is the latest company to use the plus sign (+) as part of its branding after launching newer streaming services like Disney +, Apple TV +, ESPN +, TiVo +, and just yesterday the kids-focused media catalog, Amazon Kids +. However, it’s unclear whether the “Paramount” name is going down as well with valued younger viewers as the company hopes, or whether this general trend of adding a “plus” mark is helping these services really cut out their own space.
ViacomCBS has not announced any plans to change prices when the new service goes online.
In the second quarter of 2020, ViacomCBS announced that its domestic paid streaming services, including CBS All Access and Showtime, had reached 16.2 million subscribers, up 74% year over year. CBS All Access had also broken its own records for paid subscribers, streams, and logs viewed during the quarter.