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ViacomCBS Upbeat About Streaming Services at Annual Meeting

Fern Siegel

Like many traditional television companies, ViacomCBS has taken its share of economic hits in the pandemic — both advertising and its stock price have dropped.

Yet during the company’s annual meeting of shareholders today, president-CEO Bob Bakish and Shari Redstone, non-executive chairman of ViacomCBS, were cautious but upbeat about the future.

“The market is looking for us to prove that we can execute on our strategy. I’m confident we will do so more quickly than anyone expects,” said Redstone, who owns most of the company’s voting rights.

On the streaming front, Bakish said CBS All Access’ platform would include more ViacomCBS brands.

Speaking of the AVOD Pluto TV, he noted: “Our growing scale, audience reach and earnings power will become even more evident as the market rebounds.” Bakish called Pluto TV a “massive free front door” that would help guide users to the subscription CBS All Access and Showtime streaming platforms.

The company is also pursuing its ongoing alliance with the NFL. A new deal gives
CBS an additional wildcard playoff game that will air on CBS All Access in the upcoming season.

Another big plus for the streamer was adding 120 films from Paramount Pictures’ library, which resulted in big increases in engagement. Future plans include a “transformative rebrand and relaunch” of the PVOD.

ViacomCBS’ portfolio includes CBS, Showtime Networks, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, CBS All Access, Pluto TV and Simon & Schuster, among others.

Variety first reported on the shareholder’s meeting.