It’s time for yet another streaming service, sort of. ViacomCBS announced that Paramount+ will launch on March 4, but it’s more of an evolution than an all-new service as it replaces and expands on the company’s previous service, CBS All Access.
The switch to CBS All Access was announced a few months ago. It’s in large part a result of the completion of the CBS-Viacom merger, as CBS launched All Access before that merger, but the merger has significantly increased the content library that can be put on a streaming service from the company.
In addition to shows associated with the CBS TV network, Paramount+ will feature content from properties Viacom has brought into the mix, including MTV, BET, Comedy Central, VH1, and Nickelodeon, as well as theatrically released movies from Paramount Pictures.
In addition to the countless Star Trek shows already offered by CBS All Access, the planned original series for Paramount+ includes a series based on the godfather as well as a revival of VH1s Behind the music.
March 4 is the planned launch day in the US and Latin America, and a launch is planned in the Nordic countries on March 25, as well as in Australia around the middle of the year. Canada will also receive the service sometime this year, but a date hasn’t been announced yet, but CBS All Access will immediately be rebranded as Paramount+ in that country, even before any new content is introduced.
Before this point, CBS All Access was perhaps best known for its various Star Trek programs; it included all Star Trek TV series that have aired on TV broadcasts in the past, plus new Trek series such as Discovery, Picardand Lower decks. However, it initially didn’t have the Star Trek movies, as they were owned by Paramount. The merger brought all Star Trek TV and movie content under one corporate roof.
CBS All Access also aired live TV, sports programming, and some additional shows, such as the critically acclaimed the good fight. They continue under Paramount+.
Numerous new streaming networks have been launched in the past year and a half, including Peacock (NBC Universal), Disney+ and HBO Max.
The attack has disappointed those who expected a service like Netflix or Hulu to offer virtually all content for a flat $10 a month, but that would never be economically viable, especially as TV series production costs have risen in recent years. because viewers have responded to more lavishly produced shows — something the industry calls “prestige TV.”
The new standard for TV appears similar to cable in some ways, with each media company providing a channel consisting primarily of the company’s own content, plus small amounts of licensed content.
Still, there are some significant differences in the new normal compared to how TV used to work, even beyond the fact that the content is now delivered over the Internet. For example, the services are not bundled, so viewers can choose which channels they want to pay for, and there are far fewer (and in some cases no) commercials.