Goodbye CBS All Access, Hello Paramount+


Illustration for article titled Goodbye CBS All Access, Hello Paramount+

Photo: Mark Davis (Getty Images)

Just as CBS All Access was finally getting good, ViacomCBS announced today it will rebrand the whole thing as Paramount+ in early 2021.

Are we surprised that yet another media company has decided to name its streaming service after a brand followed by the humble + sign? Pfft. Of course not. That would require originality. But as our friends at AV Club pointed out, Paramount+ was already being used for CBS All Access in some international markets, so there’s a degree of efficiency *cough* laziness *cough* at work here too. ViacomCBS doesn’t have to pay anyone to hurt their brains thinking of a different cool name, the logo already exists, and Paramount is a widely recognizable name.

Laughably unoriginal name aside, Paramount+ is meant to be ViacomCBS’s Netflix competitor and will feature a mish-mash of both the Viacom/CBS catalog, plus some new original programming. Some of its exclusive shows will include Lioness, a spy drama by Yellowstone’s Taylor Sheridan, and The Offer, a 10-episode scripted series about the making of The Godfather. It’ll also include a rebooted version of MTV’s Behind the Music, BET’s The Game, and a true-crime docuseries called The Real Criminal Minds that yes, is based off CBS Television’s Criminal Minds. This is on top of previously announced exclusives, like a new Spongebob Squarepants series and SVOD for The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run.

In the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports Paramount+ will not include Showtime titles, though Paramount+ subscribers in Australia, Latin America, and Nordic countries will get a few Showtime shows. In its release, ViacomCBS says that since expanding CBS All Access’s programming in late July, the service has “broke a new record for total monthly streams in August” and saw a spike in sign-ups—mostly from younger subscribers because apparently, the youth crave UEFA soccer matches.

Regardless of when in early 2021 the rebrand hits, Paramount+ will have a pretty stacked stable of content. On top of all the new stuff it announced today, CBS All Access currently has original shows like Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone, Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Lower Decks, and Emmy-nominated The Good Fight. It’s also recently beefed up its catalog with more than 20,000 episodes and movies from BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Pictures.

That’s all fine and dandy, but ViacomCBS has said diddly squat on price. Right now CBS All Access costs $6 a month with ads and $10 a month without them. It’s unclear whether expanded programming and the addition of original exclusives will mean a slight bump in those fees, and it’s not clear how prices will differ according to country. It goes without saying that ViacomCBS will have to be thoughtful in that regard, as we’re all bone-tired of the streaming subscription wars.