March 8, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

ViacomCBS’ Paramount+ charts March 4 entry into streaming

So long, CBS All Access. Hello, Paramount+.

ViacomCBS on March 4 will remake its CBS-branded subscription streaming service under the name of its storied movie studio in the U.S., in the latest attempt by the company to take its direct-to-consumer business to higher peaks.

The rebranding effort comes as the New York media giant faces an increasingly harsh competitive landscape of streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Walt Disney Co.’s Disney+, AT&T’s HBO Max and Comcast Corp.’s Peacock.

ViacomCBS, led by Chief Executive Bob Bakish, said it would give a presentation on its streaming strategy Feb. 24 when it also announces fourth-quarter earnings. The presentation will additionally touch on the firm’s other streaming services, the advertising-based Pluto TV and the Showtime over-the-top subscription offering.

Paramount+ also debuts in Latin America on March 4, followed by the Nordics on March 25 and Australia sometime in mid-2021, the company said Tuesday. CBS All Access in Canada will also be rebranded to Paramount+ on March 4.

The company in September announced it would rename CBS All Access as Paramount+ in early 2021, but had not specified a premiere date. The company plans to expand the service with original shows from its high-profile brands including BET, MTV and CBS. Plans include a limited series about the making of Paramount’s Francis Ford Coppola classic “The Godfather” and a new version of “Behind the Music” from MTV.

CBS All Access, which carries a mix of new shows, older programming and sports, costs $6 a month for its version with advertising, and $10 a month for its commercial-free plan. While the app attracted considerable attention for its acclaimed “Star Trek: Picard” series last year, it has not been considered a frontrunner in the streaming race. CBS debuted All Access in 2014.

Last year, the company tried to boost CBS All Access following the 2019 merger of CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc., using content from companies’ vast combined libraries of shows and movies.

ViacomCBS in November said its paid domestic streaming subscribers for CBS All Access and Showtime reached a combined 17.9 million, up 72% from the same time in the prior year. To compare, Netflix has 195 million global paid subscribers, while Disney+ has 86.8 million. Netflix will announce quarterly earnings Tuesday afternoon.