September 17, 2020
ViacomCBS plans to roll out Paramount+, a new version of its flagship streamer CBS All Access, that will take advantage of a larger program catalog created by last year’s merger of CBS and Viacom. Among the original shows exclusive to Paramount+ are “Lioness” from “Yellowstone” creator Taylor Sheridan and “The Offer,” a scripted series about the making of “The Godfather” saga. CBS All Access costs $5.99 per month with ads and $9.99 per month without them, but ViacomCBS didn’t release pricing for Paramount+.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Paramount+ is entering a crowded market, competing with Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+, AT&T’s HBO Max and Comcast’s Peacock. A ViacomCBS spokeswoman said that Showtime will not be part of Paramount+ in the U.S., but subscribers in Australia, Latin America and Nordic countries will have access to some Showtime programs.
Last month, ViacomCBS reported that it had “16.2 million domestic paid streaming subscribers in the U.S., up 72 percent from a year earlier, and 26.5 million domestic monthly active users of its advertising-supported Pluto TV streaming service, up 61 percent.” Its domestic streaming and digital video units grew 25 percent to $489 million in the quarter ending June 30.
But ViacomCBS needs growth to “offset declines in the company’s cable business, which includes properties such as MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.” MoffettNathanson reported that, “about 2 million U.S. households cut the cable cord in the second quarter of 2020.” ViacomCBS has already licensed popular movies and shows, such as Comedy Central’s “South Park,” to HBO Max for around $600 million, and “The Godfather trilogy” to NBCUniversal for an undisclosed amount.
In its press release, ViacomCBS lists some of the exclusive original series it is planning for Paramount+, from CBS, BET, MTV and Paramount, along with 3,500 episodes of the company’s shows, live sports and breaking news.
In addition to “The Offer” and “The Lioness,” ViacomCBS will offer “MTV’s Behind the Music – the Top 40,” produced by Creature Films and MTV Studios, to uncover 40 years and 40 major artists and “The Real Criminal Minds,” a true crime docuseries based on the CBS television series. It is also reviving BET’s “The Game” and adding new Nickelodeon series “Kamp Koral.”
Paramount+ will be the exclusive domestic home to “Star Trek: Discovery,” “Star Trek: Picard,” animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks” and upcoming “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.”