Technology

ViacomCBS to rebrand CBS All Access, keep price the same


Spongebob Squarepants

Source: Viacom | Wikipedia

ViacomCBS is adding 70 TV series to CBS All Access on Thursday and will continue to move shows from Viacom’s cable networks into the company’s flagship streaming service in the coming months before officially rebranding it in 2021.

The new name for CBS All Access will be chosen soon, according to Marc DeBevoise, ViacomCBS’s chief digital officer. ViacomCBS is also changing the user interface for CBS All Access to accommodate search and discovery for the new content, including building icons with the old Viacom networks, such as Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV, to find programming.

The rebranded service will join rivals such as Disney‘s Hulu and Disney+, NBCUniversal’s Peacock, and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max as traditional media companies embrace streaming. CBS All Access is already available on all major streaming platforms, including Amazon Fire TV and Roku.

That’s different from Peacock and HBO Max, which are are in prolonged carriage disputes with both platforms, which service about 70% of the streaming market. ViacomCBS’s service also differs from competitors’ products by including every live sporting event that’s broadcast on CBS, including National Football League games, and local news from CBS affiliates. 

ViacomCBS won’t change the price of the service even though it’s adding more than 10,000 episodes of new shows over the next six months, DeBevoise said in an interview. ViacomCBS will officially relaunch in early 2021 with 30,000 TV episodes and movies from the company’s library, including films from Paramount Pictures. CBS All Access is $5.99 per month with advertisements and $9.99 per month without, though all of the service’s live programming includes commercials.

“We’re adding a lot of new content, but we think the differentiation for us really comes in the live offerings,” DeBevoise said.

The added shows that will be immediately available from CBS All Access on Thursday include BET’s “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” MTV’s “Laguna Beach,” Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” and Comedy Central’s “Chappelle’s Show.”

No plans to license content

The company will rebuild a CBS-only application after it shifts content to CBS All Access, DeBevoise said. It will also keep Noggin, its preschool application, operational because of its unique interactive functionality and access to games. The video content on Noggin, which includes popular Nickelodeon kids programming such as “Dora the Explorer” and “Paw Patrol,” will eventually move to the rebranded All Access, DeBevoise said.

While ViacomCBS recently struck a deal to license some of its content to NBCUniversal’s Peacock, the company doesn’t have plans to buy content from other media companies to integrate with its own library. DeBevoise noted that ViacomCBS’s 30,000 hours of content will be a larger catalog than either Peacock (which advertises 20,000 hours) or HBO Max (10,000 hours). 

“Where we were with CBS All Access, the average age of a user was about 43 or 44,” DeBevoise said. “Now we’re expanding with kids programming, family content, the live component — it’s bigger and more diverse. We’re working in all of our brands.”

The ViacomCBS service will also add new original programming in the coming months, including season three of “Star Trek: Discovery,” premiering Oct. 15, and “Kamp Koral,” a spinoff from “SpongeBob SquarePants” that focuses on 10-year-old SpongeBob and his friends at summer camp. “Kamp Koral” will debut in early 2021.

The newly branded CBS All Access will also be the exclusive streaming destination of “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run,” which will also be available in early 2021. 

Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com.

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