ViacomCBS to Roll Out ‘Super’ Streamer in 2021

Bob Bakish (left) answered questions via Zoom about ViacomCBS from Doug Mitchelson of Credit Suisse.
Bob Bakish (left) answered questions via Zoom about ViacomCBS from Doug Mitchelson of Credit Suisse. (Image credit: Credit Suisse)

ViacomCBS plans to preview an expanded version of its streaming service CBS All Access this summer, but won’t launch its rebrand until 2021.

Speaking at the 2020 Credit Suisse Virtual Communications Conference Tuesday, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish outlined the company’s streaming strategy, part of which is transforming All Access into what he called “a super service.”

Bakish said that over-the-summer the company will be adding content from cable brands including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Smithsonian, MTV, BET and Paramount Network.

The change should help the service attract younger consumers, he said. 

The rebranded service will feature a “much broader slate of original content, much of it based on our key franchise IP from across ViacomCBS,” he said, as well as substantial changes to our user experience.

It will also have a range of sports and news programming.

At the same time, ViacomCBS will be adding content and distribution to its free streaming service Pluto TV. 

Starting this month, Pluto TV viewers will be able to click a button to sign up for CBS All Access and, eventually, its enhanced version.

Bakish added that the company’s streaming strategy included international expansion.

“We see a big opportunity for ViacomCBS in international streaming and we see it based on the assets, infrastructure and capabilities we have already all around the world,” Bakish said.

Pluto TV is already in the U.K., Germany, Austria and Switzerland in Europe and in 17 Latin American countries. In the next 12 months, Pluto TV will roll out in Brazil, Spain, France, Italy and other countries, he said.

Bakish also saw the company expanding its paid subscription service internationally. 

The international streaming product will be supported by television assets ViacomCBS already has around the world, including broadcast outlets in the U.K. and Australia.

“We believe we can selectively license product in international markets similar to the way we’re thinking about the U.S.,” he said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.