ViacomCBS chief Bob Bakish touted the century-old roots of the company across film, TV and now streaming in setting the agenda for the reformulated Paramount+.
“We know how to make hits,” he declared. “ViacomCBS has been and remains a consistent hitmaker, across genres, across demographics, across formats and across platforms.”
The executive delivered introductory remarks toward the top of the company’s virtual pitch to investors. Paramount+, formerly CBS All Access, will go live in the U.S. and Latin America next Thursday, eventually reaching other corners of the world.
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CBS and Viacom, which share a controlling shareholder in National Amusements, formally merged in 2019 and have been plotting a new streaming course ever since. In the fourth quarter ending December 31, the company reported having 30 million global streaming subscribers. While a large chunk of those are on CBS All Access, the company also has Showtime’s over-the-top service, BET+ and a range of other niche services.
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As a content supplier, Bakish said, ViacomCBS is a major force, with nearly 900 shows now in production. It has also produced “monster hits” for every streaming service, with shows like 13 Reasons Why, Emily in Paris and Dead to Me. Interestingly, the examples he cited were mostly series on Netflix, though many Wall Street and industry observers have questioned the moves of the company to license significant properties to the streaming leader.
Hitting all of the key notes in a survey of company assets, he emphasized sports and news, two areas of distinction. In addition to CBS News and prestige brands like 60 Minutes, he said, subscribers will also be able to access local news via 200 affiliates whose streams are incorporated into Paramount+.
Bakish did not make major movie news, leaving that to Paramount boss Jim Gianopulos, but he emphasized the importance of the studio to the strategy of its namesake streaming service. “Paramount has thrived through the years for a reason: because Par tells stories people love,” he said.
Select Paramount movies will go to Paramount+ 30 to 45 days after theatrical release, and all other new movies from the studio will be on P+ after theatrical, as soon as 90 days after their initial release. In addition the company is ramping up production of exclusive original movies, though he offered no specifics.
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