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The Streamable Search

CEO Bob Bakish Says ViacomCBS Is Offering Up ‘Differentiated Play’ in Streaming Space

Stephanie Sengwe

The ViacomCBS merger came to a close last week and with the streaming wars raging on, many wondered what the new company will be bringing to the space. During the UBS Global TMT Conference today, Bob Bakish, the CEO of ViacomCBS, took the time to clarify the newly formed company’s role in the current climate.

Bakish told attendees that ViacomCBS now has the ability to spread content across their varying channels. In addition to bringing CBS content to Pluto, Bakish expanded on some upcoming crossovers made possible by the merger. He stated, “Just to give a little taste of what we’re going to do: We’re bringing James Corden’s show next day replay on Comedy Central; we announced that Network 10, which is Australia, and Channel 5, which is UK, are collaborating on a new drama called ‘Breathless’ … For CBS’ Grammys, we are going to do wrap around programming on what was previously known as Viacom Media Networks, so we’re extending that experience and capturing more advertising opportunities.”

As for its role within the streaming arena, Bakish believes that ViacomCBS is in a unique position because both Viacom and CBS had market share even before merging. “The company on a combined basis is already significantly active. In the domestic U.S., in the SVOD space, between largely the CBS asserts — All Access, Showtime and also the niche Viacom asserts — we have [over] 10 million subscribers today,” Bakish explained. “When you look at that number, consider the fact that CBS All Access is the only SVOD product that has not only entertainment, but also news and sports, including local stations and live. So that’s a differentiated play, it’s a very good platform and we think there’s a lot we can do with that.”

Bakish also says ViacomCBS is in a unique position because not only do they have original content for their own platforms, but they have a wealth of library content to license to third parties as well. The company has strategically etched deals with the likes of Netflix and HBO Max, that will eventually be beneficial for their bottom line. “We have a tremendous content assert at this combined company … We are at a point in time where there is tremendous demand for content … As we think about where we put IP, we have a framework where we think about financial value, we think about strategic value and we also think about partnership.”