Viacom-owned streaming service CBS All Access is becoming Paramount+, the company announced this morning. The name change, which will take place next year, aims to better reflect the expanded content lineup that has joined the service following the Viacom-CBS merger in 2019, including content from brands like BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Smithsonian Channel, TV Land, VH1, Paramount Pictures and other sports programming. In addition, Paramount+ will expand internationally in 2021, initially to markets like Australia, Latin America and the Nordics.
ViacomCBS' plans to rebrand the service were previously known. The company earlier this year had told investors a rebranded and expanded service would arrive sometime in the summer. It later pushed that time frame back to 2021, but continued to roll out new content.
ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish had earlier described the company's plans for the expanded service as one that would allow it to showcase the company's biggest franchises and deep library, but also one that would leverage the company's IP for original content, as it has already done now with its multiple "Star Trek" series and "The Good Wife" spin-off "The Good Fight," for example. The rebranded service would also continue to promote the company's sports offerings, including its continual airing of NFL games as well as those from other leagues, like the NCAA and PGA.
All this would run on CBS All Access' existing tech platform, not a new service built from scratch.
Today, ViacomCBS notes that the new service Paramount+ will also feature an expanded array of originals. This includes "The Offer," a scripted limited series about the making of "The Godfather;" CIA spy drama "Lioness," created by Taylor Sheridan; a reimagined version of MTV's "Behind the Music," which will focus on the past 40 years; a true crime docu-series, "The Real Criminal Minds," based on the fictional TV hit; and a revival of BET's "The Game."
These shows will join previously announced plans for new kids original series "Kamp Koral," from Nickelodeon's "Spongebob Squarepants," and the service's plan to be the SVOD home for "The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run."
Paramount+ will also continue to feature existing originals, like "The Good Fight," "The Twilight Zone," "Tooning Out the News," "No Activity," Why Women Kill," "Interrogation," "The Thomas John Experience," "Tell Me a Story," "Star Trek: Discovery," "Star Trek: Picard," "Star Trek: Lower Decks," as well as the upcoming series "The Stand," "The Man Who Fell to Earth," "The Harper House," "Guilty Party" and "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds."
The company says the broader lineup from this summer has already impacted the service's viewership and demographics. Following the addition of the new content, including over 3,500 episodes of TV from across ViacomCBS' brands, CBS All Access broke its records for total monthly streams in August and saw one of its best-ever months for new subscribers. These users were also measurably younger than the service's overall average subscriber age, thanks in part to the addition of UEFA and other content.
As CBS All Access nears its 2021 rebrand to Paramount+, it will further expand its content lineup to reach more than 30,000 episodes and movies and continue to develop new originals from brands including BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and others.
"Paramount is an iconic and storied brand beloved by consumers all over the world, and it is synonymous with quality, integrity and world-class storytelling," said Bob Bakish, president and CEO, ViacomCBS, in a statement about the changes. "With Paramount+, we’re excited to establish one global streaming brand in the broad-pay segment that will draw on the sheer breadth and depth of the ViacomCBS portfolio to offer an extraordinary collection of content for everyone to enjoy."
Paramount+, notably, is also the latest to embrace the plus sign (+) suffix as part of its branding, following the launch of newer streaming services like Disney+, Apple TV+, ESPN+, TiVo+ and, just yesterday, the kids-focused media catalog, Amazon Kids+. It's unclear, however, if the name "Paramount" will resonate with prized younger viewers as much as the company hopes, or if this general trend toward adding a "plus" sign is helping these services truly carve out their own space.
ViacomCBS didn't announce any plans to change pricing when the new service goes live.
In Q2 2020, ViacomCBS said its domestic paid streaming services, including CBS All Access and Showtime, had reached 16.2 million subscribers, up 74% year-over-year. CBS All Access had also broken its own records for paid subscribers, streams and minutes watched in the quarter.