ViacomCBS is the latest US media giant to focus on the streaming market, having drawn up plans to launch a new service that draws on the breadth of content it inherited following the merger of CBS and Viacom last December.
According to sources who revealed details to CNBC and other news outlets, the new streaming service is expected to be announced at the company’s Q4 earnings conference call on February 20.
The service has not been named yet, nor has a subscription charge been agreed, but it is understood that it will be a broad offering that combines the existing CBS All Access, which launched as far back as October 2014, with Viacom’s former assets.
It means customers will be able to access a wide range of content, including CBS News, Pluto TV, Nickelodeon, BET, MTV, Comedy Central, among others, as well as Paramount Pictures’ huge catalogue of movies.
Senior company executives hope that consumers will respond positively to having access to a combination of live sports, news, movies, children’s TV and some original programming, said CNBC’s sources.
Currently, CBS All Access and premium service Showtime have more than ten million subscribers, while Viacom’s ad-supported Pluto TV numbers 20 million monthly users.
Taken together, that places ViacomCBS roughly on a par with Hulu’s 30.7 million subscribers and the 28.6 million subscribers that Disney+ has managed to attract since launching just three months ago. By comparison, Netflix and Amazon Prime have 167 million and 150 million respectively.
ViacomCBS is undoubtedly entering a crowded market, especially as AT&T’s HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming services have not yet made their debut.
But the sheer range of content it will be able to offer should give the service some competitive clout. It is also expected that different options will be made available, such as a premium service, an ad-free version, as well as one supported by ads.
Sourced from CNBC, The Verge; additional content by WARC staff