ViacomCBS Eyes Summer Reboot of CBS All Access

The Godfather - H - 1972

CEO Bob Bakish promises a "critical mass of live sports" and a broad array of Viacom programming.

ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish on Thursday outlined planned summer changes to the CBS All Access streaming service, saying it will be beefed up with a broad array of Viacom programming and a "critical" mass of sports content.

"We will build on this incredible base of content — a catalog multiple times larger than many of the new SVOD entrants — by expanding our originals slate across the portfolio," he said on the firm's earnings conference call. "This will bring first-window content from each of our brands to this platform. Our biggest franchises will be key to this strategy, as will our broad programming strength across genres — from animation to science fiction, comedy, reality, kids, crime procedurals and more."

Viacom's brand that will contribute programming include the likes of Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central and Paramount Network.

National and local news from 200-plus CBS affiliate stations and "a critical mass of live sports," including NFL, NCAA, PGA and UEFA soccer content, will also join the service, he said.

CBS All Access will also add around 100 movies from Paramount Pictures’ library, including classics like The Godfather, Terms of Endearment and An Inconvenient Truth. Other titles from the Paramount vault headed to the streamer include Star Trek: First Contact, Patriot Games and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

"Expanding CBS All Access’ library of films with these iconic titles from Paramount Pictures is just one of the many ways we’re integrating the phenomenal catalog of IP available to us within the ViacomCBS family,” Julie McNamara, executive vp and head of programming at CBS All Access, said in a statement.

Bakish also the company would take a broader-based pay streaming service to international markets over the next year, but didn't provide further specifics.

In February the company had first said it was planning a "House of Brands" streaming service that builds on CBS All Access and draws from both sides of the recently recombined Viacom and CBS. It said the goal was to complement its free Pluto TV and premium pay Showtime OTT offerings by adding a "broad pay offering" that would be a "House of Brands" product expanding CBS All Access "by adding the company’s scaled assets in film and TV, including world-renowned brands, and reaffirm and expand the value of entertainment, news and sports — through on-demand and live experiences — for audiences around the world."

On the firm's earnings call, Bakish reiterated that in recent weeks, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the company had seen a "strong acceleration in momentum in both free and pay" streaming and would look to further benefit from that.