A rebranded and expanded version of the CBS All Access streaming service will arrive this summer, ViacomCBS announced this morning. The service, now run by ViacomCBS following the merger, today offers a mix of live TV, on-demand video, original programming, streaming news, local broadcast stations and sports. Now the company is accelerating its plan to make it a broader offering by incorporating TV and movies from across the ViacomCBS portfolio of brands, including Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, Smithsonian and Paramount. It also plans to expand its original content lineup and news and sports offerings, the company said.
These efforts are already underway ahead of the big relaunch.
Alongside ViacomCBS’ quarterly earnings this morning, CBS All Access announced the addition more than 100 Paramount films to its service.
These include Oscar winners like “The Godfather,” “Terms of Endearment” and an “Inconvenient Truth,” along with popular titles like “Star Trek: First Contact,” “Patriot Games,” “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” “Airplane!,” “The Hours,” “The First Wives Club,” “Pretty in Pink,” “To Catch a Thief” and others.
“Expanding CBS All Access’ library of films with these iconic titles from Paramount Pictures is just one of the many ways we’re integrating the phenomenal catalog of IP available to us within the ViacomCBS family,” said Julie McNamara, EVP & CBS All Access Head of Programming, in a statement. “The service is on a growth trajectory with two record-breaking months in March and April, and we look forward to bringing even more premium content and value to our subscribers in the coming months.”
During the earnings call with investors, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish offered more detail as to what the rebranded CBS All Access service will entail when it relaunches this summer.
While the service will showcase the company’s biggest franchises and deep library content, it won’t solely rely on back catalog content to attract viewers. It also will leverage the company’s IP, as its original programs like “Star Trek: Discovery,” “Star Trek: Picard” and “The Good Wife” spin-off “The Good Fight” have already done. And it will continue to promote its sports offerings, which will include its continued airing of NFL games, as well as those from other leagues like the NCAA and PGA.
In addition, Bakish noted the new service is not being built from scratch, but will instead be based on CBS All Access’ existing tech platform.
The company had alluded to its plans for CBS All Access in February, describing its future as a “House of Brands” product that will also be further expanded outside the U.S. through a variety of distribution deals.
ViacomCBS has yet to reveal key details, like its pricing plans or new name, but the time frame of the “summer 2020” launch is new. The company also said its international launch is planned for sometime “over the next 12 months.”
The news of the relaunch comes at a time when streaming services are seeing significant gains as consumers stuck at home during the coronavirus quarantine are in search of more entertainment. In this environment, NBCU has launched its service Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO MAX is just around the corner. Recently launched Disney+ has also benefited from the rise in consumer demand to reach 54.5 million subscribers in the five months since its U.S. debut.
The rebranded CBS All Access may have a good chance at gaining an audience too, given it’s already seeing increased usage and interest in amid the coronavirus pandemic. The company said its domestic streaming services, CBS All Access and Showtime combined, were up 50% year-over-year to reach 13.5 million total subscribers by the end of the first quarter. Both CBS All Access and Showtime also broke their own records for sign-ups, streams and time watched in the quarter.
ViacomCBS reported a 6% revenue decline in Q1 to $6.67 million, related in part to coronavirus impacts, including the March Madness cancellation. Profit was $516 million, or 84 cents per share, down from $1.96 billion in the year-ago quarter, or $3.20 per share.
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