It won't get high marks for creativity and originality, but ViacomCBS has come up with its new name for CBS All Access: Paramount+.
Joining Disney, ESPN, Apple TV and even TiVo in tacking a "+" sign to the end of the name of a premium streaming service, ViacomCBS said the new brand will take hold in early 2021 in the US alongside an initial international expansion into Australia, Latin America and the Nordics.
ViacomCBS reasoned in part that the Paramount brand has high global recognition among its various media properties, which also include CBS, Showtime, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon MTV and The CW.
Paramount "has near universal brand recognition … so that fits with our global footprint," ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish told CNBC.
ViacomCBS did not announce pricing for the successor to CBS All Access, which today sells for $5.99 per month with ads, and $9.99 per month without ads. Bakish promised that Paramount+ will be a "truly differentiated product" offering a range of live sports, news and – in an obvious nod to the Paramount logo – "a mountain of entertainment." All-in, Paramount+ will boot up with about 30,000 TV shows and film titles from the ViacomCBS stable of networks and studios.
New originals will also feature heavily in the new OTT offering, including a TV drama called "The Offer" inspired by "The Godfather" films, a spy/espionage series called "Lioness," and a reboot of "The Game." Those will build on originals already tied to CBS All Access, such as "Star Trek: Discovery" and "Star Trek: Picard," and an already announced "SpongeBob SquarePants" spin-off titled "Kamp Koral."
"Franchises figure very prominently in Paramount+," Bakish said, holding that the new, broader streaming service will appeal to a wide demo, which is the same position that WarnerMedia happens to be trying to establish with its new HBO Max service.
While a rebrand does seem in order given that Paramount+ will be a global streaming service, that ViacomCBS went with an olde tyme media brand and simply attached a plus sign to it did not escape some ribbing on the Twitterverse. Some examples:
Paramount: Hey can I copy your homework?— TRAFON (@RiseFallNick) September 15, 2020
Disney: Sure but make sure you change it up enough so the teacher doesn't notice
Paramount: You got it! https://t.co/e3rQTfgFfD
Surprising that Paramount has more brand rec than CBS. I didnt think film studios (outside of Disney, Pixar, WB, and maybe Blumhouse), had that juice.— Jeffrey L. Wilson (@jeffreylwilson) September 15, 2020
"I gotta see that Paramount joint!"
CBS All Access Will Get Rebranded as Paramount+ in 2021 https://t.co/wlQc13pEzs #PCMag
CBS All Access is bravely following the leads of other streaming services like Disney+ and Apple TV+ and changing its name to Paramount+. That’ll help it stand out…right? https://t.co/phy938PGk2— Winter is Coming (@WiCnet) September 15, 2020
If they really wanted to include the paramount name, it could of been as easy as naming the service “Paramount All Access” pic.twitter.com/ODLMQ9AwDG— Logan Austin (@jaylowfantastic) September 15, 2020
OK, so not everyone mocked the decision:
I’m not sure the name “Paramount+” is the answer in 2020, but it definitely doesn’t feel as cheap as “CBS All Access.” https://t.co/YAJh6vJ7WS— Bill Kuchman (@billkuchman) September 15, 2020
And one top media industry analyst did note that the service's new moniker should put a rumor to bed:
- ViacomCBS's 'super' streaming service set for early 2021 debut
- ViacomCBS preps launch of 'broad pay' streaming service
- Comcast to stream CBS All Access on X1 and Flex boxes
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading