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Fall TV 2020: CBS Interactive Chief DeBevoise Explains the Thought Behind the Paramount Plus Rebrand

Marc DeBevoise speaks during the Streaming Media Summit, part of Future Media's Fall TV 2020
Marc DeBevoise speaks during the Streaming Media Summit, part of Future Media's Fall TV 2020 (Image credit: Future)

With ViacomCBS in the process of broadening and rebranding CBS All Access into “Paramount Plus,” the man in charge of the streaming service used the forum provided by Future Media’s Fall TV 2020 virtual conference to explain the marketing rationale 

"Few brands within our company have the kind of resonance" that Paramount does, said Marc DeBevoise, CEO of CBS Interactive. Paramount, he explained, conveys "big, broad entertainment. It means 'curtain-raiser.'"

The shift to Paramount Plus doesn’t mean that ViacomCBS is giving up on the CBS brand name. The objective, however, was to find an umbrella name like Paramount Plus that lacks "specificity," and can serve as an umbrella not only to CBS, but Nickelodeon, BET, MTV and all the other brands that are not entering the SVOD service’s broadened portfolio of programming brands. 

Also Read: Fall TV 2020: Pluto TV and Tubi Founders on Early VC Disinterest: 'All They Watched Was "Game of Thrones"'

“We had to find something that could sit as a uniting brand on top of them all,” DeBevoise explained. 

DeBevoise, who was interviewed by Fall TV 2020 exec producer Tim Hanlon in a virtual one-on-one Thursday, reiterated ViacomCBS’ earlier stated timeline—CBS All Access won’t officially change its name to Paramount Plus until the first quarter. And most of the reconfiguration of the platform will debut during that time, as well. 

However, he noted that some of the transformation already started in August, when 3,500 TV episodes from the Viacom part of the recent ViacomCBS remarriage joined the CBS All Access portfolio. 

In the half-hour interview, DeBevoise also touched on the relationship between Pluto TV and Paramount Plus—the AVOD platform will be kept separate, as much of its large programming portfolio comes from outside the ViacomCBS library. 

DeBevoise also discussed new original series that will bow amid the relaunch of Paramount Plus. Among the shows will be, The Offer a scripted drama about the making of The Godfather; the Taylor Sheridon-created spy drama The Lioness; and a relaunch of venerable VH1 series Behind the Music

Notably, Paramount Plus will be the steaming home of the venerable kids series SpongeBob SquarePants, with the series’ latest theatrical movie iteration bypassing the COVID-hamstrung movie exhibition business and going straight to SVOD. 

It was back in the fourth quarter of 2011 that SpongeBob-dependent Nickelodeon ratings cratered suddenly, with Viacom officially tracing the drop to kids—seemingly overnight—discovering reruns of the show on Netflix streaming.