Earlier in the month, we reported on how ViacomCBS was accelerating plans to enhance CBS All Access, taking advantage of the available content across the recently re-combined company. Since then some more details have emerged on this planned expansion and how ViacomCBS see Star Trek fitting into their streaming future.
Star Trek’s DNA fuels ViacomCBS strategy
Speaking on a panel for the NAB Show Executive Leadership Summit, Jeff Grossman, EVP of content strategy and operations for CBS All Access, discussed how the streaming service has been seeing “record months” during 2020, and he pointed to Star Trek and Star Trek fans as a key ingredient:
I think some of our programming has really resonated with audiences, first and foremost, Star Trek: Picard, which was an original on the All Access service. I think there’s something in addition to a lot of the classic and nostalgia library programming, shows like Cheers that we have, and a great compliment of Paramount movies. I think there’s something in the Star Trek DNA that is embedded with sort of a hopeful kind of look at the future. And that type of content is also really resonating with fans and viewers right now.
ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish also spoke about Star Trek during a shareholder meeting last week, citing it as a model for how ViacomCBS will be approaching creating new original content for their expanding streaming platform:
As we do this and as production reopens, you will see an expanded slate of originals spanning significant IP from all of our flagship brands. Look at what we have done with CBS All Access and Star Trek, etcetera. Now take that model and apply it to the portfolio of brands and it is really going to be a very compelling offering.
In reply to a question about how ViacomCBS is prioritizing its $13.5 billion spend on new content across the company, Bakish again pointed to the importance of streaming and franchises:
Content is what drives our consumer connection. That content today is driving very robust consumption in television and even stronger growth in streaming. We look at how we allocate that investment across our platforms in a highly disciplined way. As we do that, we certainly allocate content expense growth to places where we believe there is a growth opportunity. And that means it today’s landscape we prioritize our content investment growth in streaming, which we see as a significant opportunity…In particular, when it comes to streaming, our biggest franchises will be key to our success.
We are already seeing the effect of the investment ViacomCBS is putting into Star Trek with the upcoming launches of the third season of Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Lower Decks coming this year, the animated Star Trek kids series in development at Nickelodeon, the recent announcement of the new series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Star Trek: Picard prepping a second season, and more Star Trek television shows and a feature film in development.
Another sign of the importance of Star Trek to ViacomCBS came when Bakish showed a sizzle reel highlighting content all across the company. That video started off with Star Trek. You can see that clip in the embedded video from our tweet below:
For this weeks @ViacomCBS shareholder meeting, CEO Bob Bakish touted the company's franchises and shows with a video that kicked off with a little help from @TheRealNimoy and @SirPatStew #startrek pic.twitter.com/1zhvsNTwuB
— TrekMovie.com (@TrekMovie) May 19, 2020
Transformed All Access coming this summer, rebranding later
During the virtual shareholder conference, Bakish stated that ViacomCBS was “rapidly transforming CBS All Access into a differentiated, broad, pay streaming service,” and he offered some more details on the rollout plan:
We are accelerating our plans for an expanded subscription service that builds off of CBS All Access with major advancements coming this summer including additional content from our cable brands and more movies from Paramount….That is not just talk. It is already underway. Last week we added about 120 Paramount films to CBS All Access and we are already in engagement – i.e. time spent – in the film category and overall, with just that move. And we are going to be adding thousands of hours of TV and film over the coming months. In fact, you will see a very substantial change to CBS All Access in the summer, including the addition of a transformed user interface which incorporates our flagship brands as we track towards a transformative rebrand and relaunch.
So, it appears that this summer there will be an enhancement to All Access in terms of content and interface, with the planned rebranding of the service coming at a later date. The summer update to All Access will help ViacomCBS taking on new competition from WarnerMedia’s HBO Max (launching later this week) and NBC Universal’s Peacock (launching July 15). Bakish also told shareholders the company is planning multiple international launches of this expanded All Access service in the next twelve months.
For more, check out the latest episode of our Shuttlepod podcast, which discusses Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and ViacomCBS plans for streaming.
Keep up with all the ViacomCBS news at TrekMovie.com.