Since 2019, each new streaming service that has launched aimed to compete with longtime powerhouses like Netflix and Hulu. The launch of ViacomCBS’ Paramount Plus this March, however, could turn the streaming wars in a new direction.
Paramount Plus serves as an expanded version of CBS All Access, with all of the channel’s shows—including programming from its 150+ U.S. affiliates. Additionally, the service includes NFL games and original series, alongside shows from ViacomCBS channels like Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central. In total, Paramount Plus will kick off with 30,000 titles in its portfolio, but that still makes it one of the smaller streaming services in play. However, the service has an advantage in that it will launch with 8-9 million subscribers who will be transferred over from their CBS All Access subscription. This could help Paramount Plus level itself quickly against competitors according to a Gartner report, which is of particular importance as the brand does not plan to spend anywhere near as much as Netflix or Disney+ on advertising.
Paramount Plus’ unique blend of content, including news, sports, reality TV, and original shows, could help it appeal to a vast and diverse audience. To reach as many potential viewers as possible, Paramount Plus will expand internationally upon its launch. The service launches in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America on March 4 and soon after will become available in parts of Europe and Australia. Diversifying its reach could grow ViacomCBS’s streaming revenue quicker and help it reach global audiences left relatively untouched by competitors like Discovery+ or NBC News Now. Paramount could build anticipation with these potential viewers via social media, including through ViacomCBS’s main and affiliate channels across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The virtual promotions could reach a larger viewership as many consumers remain homebound but tuned into their mobile devices during the Coronavirus pandemic. As such, entertainment-starved enthusiasts may be more willing to subscribe to another streaming service, which could quickly boost sales for Paramount Plus.
The arrival of Paramount Plus adds more mass to an already crowded market. However, the platform’s seasoned networks and content could appeal to an already loyal audience, which could help both ViacomCBS and Paramount Plus overtake—or at least level against—other longstanding streaming services.