ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish on Tuesday called Paramount, “one of the most stocked brands in Hollywood” and a “natural choice” of name and content engine for its fast-growing OTT service in a rebrand announced this morning.
Former Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman wanted to discharge the studio or a large part of it. But Bakish makes it the beating heat of the company. The studio has “more than a century-old legacy from producing great content, is a brand that has always brought people together, and more importantly, it is a band that leverages ViacomCBS ‘global position of almost universal brand recognition.”
Bakish spoke at a Goldman Sachs media conference on a busy day for the company, which this morning announced the name and some details for Paramount +, a renaming of its CBS All Access streaming service, which was due to debut early next year.
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ViacomCBS shares rose more than 2% in the middle of the afternoon on a flat market.
The launch news included some original programming, including a series called The offer on the manufacture of The Godfather, a classic Paramount franchise and a spy show Lioness from Yellowstone co-creator Taylor Sheridan.
Domestically, Showtime will continue to operate separately from Paramount +. However, as the service rolls out internationally, the Showtime product will be incorporated, Bakish said.
Most CBS All Access subscribers pay $ 6 a month for an ad-supported version. The ad-free version costs $ 9.99 a month.
Julie McNamara, head of programming for CBS All Access, and ViacomCBS digital director Marc DeBevoise will discuss the content of Paramount + on NATPE Streaming Plus this afternoon.
CBS All Access and Showtime OTT will estimate 18 million combined paid domestic subscribers by the end of the year, Bakish confirmed a 60% increase from last year. He said Showtime added more subs in the last six months than it has in the last two and a half years.
Asked about advertising, he reiterated comments from another media conference last week that trends improved “meaningfully” in July and August, returning to pre-COVID levels in Pluto TV and other corners of the company. Pharma, retail, insurance, financial and local advertising are picking up, the latter driven by a revival in the automotive industry. Record policy spending has not yet been hit. Current third-quarter advertising “will be dramatically better than 2Q.”
The combination of assets helps ViacomCBS inks with more favorable combination innovations and sees associated growth in a very tough market for linear cable networks. “The conversations are much broader,” Bakish said, “given the breadth we now bring.”
He said an agreement announced yesterday to sell CNET Media Group for $ 500 million would translate into $ 350 million in net proceeds, allowing it to pay off debt. Sale of other non-core assets Simon & Schuster and CBS ‘historic Black Rock headquarters await.