Saturday, September 19, 2020

ViacomCBS CEO Explains Streaming Strategy

ViacomCBS will rebrand CBS All Access as Paramount+ early next year, as it continues to build out its streaming offerings and strategy. The service will get a slate of new original content and an international launch next year.

“Today’s an exciting day,” CEO Robert Bakish said at Goldman Sachs’ annual Communacopia media and telecom conference on Tuesday. “It’s really the beginning of a new chapter for one of the most storied brands in Hollywood.”

Barron's reports Bakish said that ViacomCBS is planning a major marketing campaign to announce the rebranded Paramount+ service next year. It’s essentially CBS All Access with some additional original content. That includes live sports, news, and talk shows; new and library TV series; and Paramount movies. It’s one of three legs of ViacomCBS’ streaming strategy, along with subscription-service Showtime and ad-supported PlutoTV.

Paramount+ international will be a mix of Showtime and CBS All Access programming, plus movies from Paramount and TV shows from Viacom channels. Starting in early 2021, the service will be available in Australia, the Nordic countries, and parts of Latin America.

Bakish said that a priority for ViacomCBS is ensuring that its streaming services are distributed on all the major streaming platforms. Some streaming services owners—like AT&T’s HBO Max—have bristled against requirements from streaming platforms—like’s Fire TV.

ViacomCBS’s traditional TV and movie businesses are beginning to recover from their second-quarter lows, Bakish said on Tuesday. He expects the company to show revenue growth for 2020, implying at least $14.9 billion in sales in the second half of the year, versus $12.9 billion in the first half.

Growth in affiliate fee, retransmission, and streaming revenues will be large enough to make up for cable subscriber losses, Bakish said, noting that advertising revenues are also recovering from their trough in the second quarter, but many categories remain below their levels a year earlier. The return of sports programming is also helping.

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