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ViacomCBS is on track to rebrand its CBS All Access streaming service as Paramount+ in early 2021, CEO Bob Bakish said Wednesday.
Speaking at a virtual installment of the Code Media conference, Bakish outlined how the company plans to position the service in the marketplace, emphasizing “live sports, breaking news and a mountain of entertainment” (the Paramount logo, of course, features a snow-capped mountain).
Why, moderator Peter Kafka asked, will the company emphasize sports and news before its vast library of entertainment programming?
“Part of it is differentiation, the NFL, UEFA, the PGA, NCAA, that is a differentiating characteristic in the over-the-top space,” Bakish said, adding that its streaming news operation is also unique; he does not think people would pay for a stand-alone streaming news service. “Some of our competitors have been less successful in articulating their positioning.”
Paramount+ will inherit the sports rights held by CBS All Access, which most notably include the NFL, NCAA March Madness basketball and UEFA soccer.
Bakish also discussed leveraging the ViacomCBS TV brands on Paramount+, with Nickelodeon owning the kids space, MTV and Comedy Central positioning themselves toward younger viewers, and CBS appealing to a broader, older audience.
He also acknowledged when asked that the 2019 deal to sell exclusive South Park streaming rights to HBO Max may not have been made today.
“You have to rewind the tape. That decision was made at Viacom legacy, when we didn’t have a path to a scalable pay service,” Bakish said. “It made all the sense in the world, at the time.”
As for why the company decided on using the Paramount brand for the new service, Bakish touted “near-universal brand awareness,” on both a global basis and a demographic basis, one that people also associated with TV. “It stands for super high-quality entertainment,” Bakish said. “This is a 115-year-old studio that has been continuously reinvented over a century, starting with the talkies.”
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