ViacomCBS CEO Believes Licensing Library Content Won’t Detract Paramount+ Subscribers
ViacomCBS announced back in September that they will be rebranding CBS All Access and will relaunch the service as Paramount+, a competitor to the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Hulu, and Peacock. As with other media companies, ViacomCBS announced that their service would aggregate content from across all their brands and offer customers everything for one price.
With the launch of Paramount+ looming, the company has gone a slightly different direction than its competitors. While WarnerMedia reclaimed “Friends” from Netflix and NBCUniversal will be taking back “The Office” and “Parks and Rec” in order to put those shows on their own services, ViacomCBS is actually licensing out some of their hit library content.
Just last week, HBO Max announced that ViacomCBS series, “The Chappelle Show,” “Reno 911,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” “Key & Peele” as well as “Nathan For You,” will be debuting on the service on November 1. The streamer snagged all seasons of the classic TV shows through a non-exclusive licensing agreement with ViacomCBS.
The company also licensed seasons of “The Chappelle Show” to Netflix.
During their Q3 2020 earnings call this morning, ViacomCBS CEO, Bob Bakish addressed the company’s willingness to dole out content, instead of withholding it for themselves.
“Our strategy is evolving particularly with Paramount+. In terms of the content licensing business, we have a tremendous asset base in content—both from film library, TV library and current series production—we can’t keep all that for ourselves, it doesn’t make sense. We do have strong demand from third parties…and we can reliably and profitably monetize it and we do,” Bakish explained.
“We have moved to a co-exclusive or non-exclusive model, to ensure that Paramount+ also benefits from our product…You look at what is an acquisition driver versus what is an engagement driver. Library product is not acquisition drivers; these we believe will be our franchise-length originals and other our originals. Library product including some stuff from Comedy Central is good for engagement and so we want to have it for our own use, but we don’t think that detracts from subscriber acquisition for Paramount+.”
The company also revealed in their earnings report that Pluto TV reached 28.4 million monthly active users (up 57 percent year-over-year). The ad-supported service climbed from the 26.5 million they reported last quarter.
Their paid streaming services, CBS All Access and Showtime are now at a combined 17.9 million subscribers (up 72 percent year-over-year). The paid streaming subscriptions rose from from 16.2 million last quarter.
The company is still on track to rebrand CBS All Access to Paramount+ in early 2021.
One of the more alluring points of the new service is the fact that it’s getting additional content, when it relaunches in early 2021 expanding to 30,000+ TV episodes and movies from BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, and Paramount. CBS All Access is currently $5.99 for the ad-supported version and $9.99 for the ad-free version, but the company hasn’t said if that will change with the relaunch.