Streaming is one of ViacomCBS’s fastest-growing divisions, and to meet that demand, the company is accelerating significant changes to CBS All Access.
Major changes are coming to the company’s core paid streaming service, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish said during the company’s earnings call this morning. Those changes will tie directly into the current CBS All Access platform; the company isn’t building a new version from scratch, but it will increase the amount of content available and make major technology changes.
“We’re accelerating our plans for an expanded subscription service, building off CBS All Access, with major changes coming this summer, as we track towards the rebrand and relaunch of a transformed product,” Bakish said.
The expanded CBS All Access, referred to as “House of Brands” by the company earlier this year, will add 30,000 episodes of shows from Viacom’s biggest networks, including Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, and the Smithsonian Channel. The expansion will also see 1,000 movies from Paramount’s library, including franchises like Mission Impossible. Bakish reiterated that one of CBS All Access’ biggest strengths is its library, one of the largest among all media conglomerates with streaming services, and the revamped All Access will work to highlight that offering.
It’s not just library content, though. Bakish confirmed that CBS All Access’ new strategy will see an emphasis on new originals being developed to compete with incoming streaming competitors, like HBO Max and Peacock. ViacomCBS will rely on its library of intellectual property to develop those shows, much like it already has with Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and The Good Fight.
“We are full speed ahead on streaming,” Bakish said.
In order to compete with competitors like Peacock, CBS All Access’ new plan will also lean heavily on leveraging even more from its news and sports offerings. National and local news from over 200 CBS affiliates will be available through CBS All Access, Bakish said. Games from leagues like the NCAA, NFL, and PGA that CBS has the rights to will also be available to subscribers. CBS doesn’t have the exclusive rights to every NFL game, but those that air on CBS will continue to be available on All Access. CBS All Access will also carry the exclusive streaming rights to certain sports leagues like women’s soccer, Bakish confirmed.
On top of ViacomCBS’s plan to accelerate the growth of its CBS All Access platform in the United States — a decision that comes after subscribers to All Access and Showtime’s OTT service surpassed 13.5 million, up 50 percent year over year — Bakish and the team have plans for further international development. ViacomCBS will “launch a broad pay streaming product over the next 12 months internationally,” Bakish said, but he didn’t provide other details.
A big part of the acceleration plan comes during the coronavirus pandemic when more people are spending time at home and looking for entertainment to stream. ViacomCBS streaming platforms saw major growth the time people spent streaming, “with accelerated subscriber growth and consumption, reinforcing consumer demand for its content,” the company reported. People want to stream, and ViacomCBS wants CBS All Access to be a “foundational” streaming platform for consumers, according to Bakish.
“Audiences want entertainment on demand and news, sports and live events,” Bakish said. “We’ll be the service that gives them what they want, how they want it, all in one place, and at a great value. This will be a compelling foundational service for some, and differentiated complement for others.”