The newly merged ViacomCBS is expected to launch a new streaming service, building on CBS All Access and Viacom media assets. The service will compete with other online offerings, including the forthcoming Peacock from NBC Universal, as broadcast and cable networks go direct to consumer. The company is aiming for 25 million online video subscribers by 2022.
CBS All Access launched in October 2014 as the first online video offering by an American broadcast network, allowing users to view current and previous episodes of CBS shows. It is available in the United States for $5.99 with advertising and US$9.99 without advertising.
The Showtime online subscription video service was launched in July 2015. CBS All Access and Showtime had 10 million subscribers between them at the start of 2020.
Viacom acquired the advertising supported online service Pluto TV in January 2019 for $340 million. It had 20 million active users a month in November 2019.
ViacomCBS was formed in December 2019 through the merger of CBS Corporation and the second incarnation of Viacom, the two of which were created from the split of the original Viacom in 2005.
Together they account for 22% of television viewership in the United States, ahead of Comcast, including NBC Universal, with 18%, and Disney, which includes ABC, at 14%, with Fox having a similar share.
The merged company is home to more than 140,000 television episodes and 3,600 film titles, with global production capabilities and more than $13 billion in annual content investment. The company says its content scale will support a robust streaming strategy.
It is reported that the new ViacomCBS service could combine CBS All Access with Viacom assets including Pluto TV, Nickelodeon, BET, MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures, with a premium version including Showtime.
ViacomCBS also owns Channel 5 in the United Kingdom and Network 10 in Australia.
Further news about the online plans for ViacomCBS may be announced when the company reports on 20 February, when subscriber numbers for its existing online services may be released.