Six years after launching CBS All Access, and debuting streaming originals like Star Trek: Picard and Jordan Peele's Twilight Zone, ViacomCBS is ready to snowball the service with all of its properties and channels to create a product that can go toe to toe with Netflix, HBO Max, Peacock, and every other streamer under the sun.
According to a Q4 earnings report, the unnamed service will complement the company's free Pluto TV platform and premium Showtime Anytime "by adding a broad pay offering, built on the foundation of CBS All Access." Described as a "'House of Brands' product," the service is expected to suck up content Nickelodeon, BET, MTV, Comedy Central, Pluto TV, and the Paramount Pictures film library.
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ViacomCBS has found luck by mining its back catalogue: As noted in the report, the January premiere of Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access broke internal records for total streams and subscriber signups. In contrast, ViacomCBS has also relied on other streaming platforms to host shows, specials, and films that may not have found a release otherwise. After picking up unworthy releases from Paramount like The Cloverfield Paradox, Netflix signed a deal with the studio in 2018 to release multiple films. In the past year, multiple Nickelodeon specials, including Rocko's Modern Life and Invader Zim one-offs, premiered on Netflix instead of Nick proper. MTV's reboot of Real World actually rolled out on Facebook Watch in 2019.
It's unclear whether the new ViacomCBS platform would be a subscription service like HBO Max or provide free viewing through an ad-based model like NBC's upcoming Peacock or CBS' own Pluto TV. For now, the broad announcement is a reminder of the shifting tides: If you're a media conglomerate in the 2020s, you have an OTT service to be picked up à la carte by viewers who want your shows.