Paramount is doubling down on streaming.
In February, the company announced it was shedding the ViacomCBS moniker for Paramount Global (shortened to Paramount).
The move brings it more in line with streaming service Paramount Plus, the launch of which a year ago meant the death of CBS All Access.
“An iconic global company deserves an iconic global name," said Bob Bakish, president & CEO, and Shari Redstone, non-executive chair of the board, in a memo to staffers. "One that reflects the power of our content; one that reflects our role as stewards of a rich heritage and as leaders in the future of entertainment,” they said.
During the company's most recent earnings call, Bakish touted the company's addition of 9.4 million global streaming subscribers, 7.3 million of those subs were for Paramount Plus. Those gains bring Parmount's total global streaming subscribers to more than 56 million and Paramount Plus's streaming total to more than 32 million.
Even with the subscriber gains, the company reported that in 2021 its direct-to-consumer business lost nearly $1 billion, and in 2022 it expects the losses to reach $500 million.
CFO Naveen Chopra predicted the company's DTC losses will peak in 2023, but will start to improve in 2024. “And longer-term our model suggests that the D to C segment will approach margins similar to our current TV media business,” Chopra added.
At launch, Paramount Plus (stylized as Paramount+) had more than 30,000 episodes of library content and more than 2,500 movies from both Paramount and MGM.
Library content runs the gamut from kids' programming to reality television and includes shows from Paramount's stable of networks such as Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1, CBS, and Comedy Central.
The Paramount-owned service combines this "mountain of entertainment" with live sports and news.
What's happened to CBS All Access?
Paramount Plus effectively killed CBS All Access. But Paramount assured that current CBS All Access accounts would transfer to Paramount Plus on March 4, 2021.
How much does it cost?
The base tier is cheaper than the $5.99 per month charged for CBS All Access's base tier.
In addition to no ads, premium tier perks include live news from CBS affiliates and more than 1,000 live sporting events.
Yearly subscriptions are also available with $49.99 per year for a limited commercials version and $99.99 per year for a commercial free version.
Showtime and BET Plus content isn't included in either the base or premium tiers. But subs have the option to add these services on.
What content is available?
Paramount Plus boasts more than 30,000 hours of library content from the Paramount stable of networks, including CBS, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, and Smithsonian Channel. This includes series such as South Park, Love & Hip Hop, Love Island, RuPaul's Drag Race, The Amazing Race, Survivor, The Challenge, Big Brother, and Jersey Shore.
CBS All Access originals (The Good Fight, The Stand, Star Trek: Discovery and The Twilight Zone) will also make the jump to Paramount Plus.
Subscribers get Paramount Plus originals, too. The streamer went in with plans for 36 original series in 2021.
Most recently, the service debuted Yellowstone spinoff 1883, which Paramount touted as Paramount Plus' most-watched original.
Chiwetel Ejiofor will star in Paramount Plus original The Man Who Fell to Earth, which is based on Walter Tevis's novel (and the 1976 David Bowie film) of the same name.
The service will get 14 original South Park movies as well, two of which are slated to land in 2021. Paramount inked a deal, worth a reported $900 million, with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The deal will keep South Park on Comedy Central through 2027, the series' 30th season.
Subscribers will find reboots on the service, too, including MTV's The Real World franchise with the cast of the first season of the reality series reuniting for The Real World Homecoming: New York. Other confirmed reboots include Frasier and Rugrats.
On the kids' front, the service will have original series Kamp Koral, from Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants, and original film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run.
Live programming includes content from local CBS stations, CBSN, CBS Sports HQ and ET Live.
Will I be able to watch new Paramount movies?
ViacomCBS opted to shake up its theatrical release strategy with Paramount Plus.
Some Paramount Pictures films will premiere on Paramount Plus 30-45 days after their theatrical release window.
Paramount Pictures also inked a deal with Epix, which will see thousands of titles available to Paramount Plus subs.
Subs will get MGM releases as well after their theatrical window and a pay TV release on Epix.
There will be original films on the service, too, from Paramount Players and the portfolio of ViacomCBS studios.
Where can I stream Paramount Plus?
At launch, Paramount Plus was available at ParamountPlus.com, the Paramount Plus app for Android and iOS, and a variety of smart TVs, gaming consoles, and OTT providers.
Paramount, though, before launch had not named specific OTT providers, leaving consumers wondering if it would be on Amazon Fire TV and Roku.
In Europe, Paramount teamed with Comcast's Sky unit to roll out Paramount Plus on Sky platforms in select areas. The Paramount Plus app would also be available in Europe via iOS and Android. ■
Jessika is content engagement director of Broadcasting + Cable, Multichannel News and NextTV. She has been with the brands in various roles since 2013. In her current role, she works primarily behind the screen, keeping an eye on the website and fixing any site bugs. A graduate of USC Annenberg, Jessika has edited and reported on a variety of subjects for NextTV, including profiles on industry leaders and breaking news.
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