CBS All Access May Be Rebranded As Paramount+

The remerged ViacomCBS has already announced its intentions to expand CBS All Access, home to the Star Trek Universe on TV, and relaunch the service with a new brand in early 2021. Integration of more content from across the ViacomCBS portfolio has already begun, with the goal of transforming All Access into a “super streamer” to take on competition from other media companies,

Paramount+ in 2021?

A new Financial Times profile on ViacomCBS Chairperson Shari Redstone reports that the media conglomerate has put together a shortlist for the new name of the planned “super streamer.” And according to the report, the name at the top of that list is “Paramount+.”

According to the FT, part of the motivation for rebranding CBS All Access is that ViacomCBS management “believes the CBS brand appeals mainly to an older audience.” ViacomCBS is the home of several other popular brands including MTV, BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and Smithsonian. However, most of those have targeted audiences, with Paramount possibly seen as the one brand in the portfolio with the broadest appeal.

Paramount Pictures is the second oldest movie studio in the US, so its name (and famous mountain logo) carry a lot of recognition for consumers of all ages. In May the first post-merger expansion of CBS All Access was the addition of dozens of Paramount films, with over 150 now available. More are expected to be added by the time of the relaunch. ViacomCBS has also taken the upcoming Paramount feature film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run off their theatrical release schedule, to make it an exclusive for the launch of the new streaming service in 2021.

We have already seen Viacom utilize the Paramount name for re-branding. In 2018 their SpikeTV cable network was relaunched as the Paramount Network, pivoting to take on premium free cable networks like AMC. Its first original drama Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner, has solid ratings and is wrapping up its third season.

Branding for the Paramount Network

ViacomCBS has not confirmed where Paramount+ ranks in their rebranding shortlist, but in a statement to the FT, they did confirm a name change is in the works:

We are currently going through a thoughtful branding process that will reflect the expansion and relaunch of the service. Both existing and new original brands are under consideration.

A change in name, along with the previously announced additional content and feature upgrades, would allow ViacomCBS to reintroduce the streaming service. This newly branded streamer would most directly be taking on those from other media companies like Disney+, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, and NBCUniversal’s Peacock.

ViacomCBS has also recently announced plans to launch an new international streaming service, and presumably, the new branding will be used globally.

Whatever the new name is, it would have some impact on the Star Trek Universe. All the current series are currently branded as “CBS All Access Originals,” and that would change to reflect the new branding. Upcoming shows like Star Trek: Strange New Worlds would be launched under this new branding regime.

Current branding for all CBS All Access original series

Déjà vu all over again for Star Trek

Of course, the Paramount brand and its mountain logo has been associated with the Star Trek franchise since Paramount’s former corporate parent Gulf+Western acquired Desilu Studios and merged it with Paramount in 1967. All Star Trek television and future films carried the Paramount branding through the following decades, even after Viacom took over Gulf+Western in 1994.

In the 1970s, Paramount planned to launch its own broadcast TV network with a new Star Trek TV show (Star Trek: Phase II) as the flagship series. That plan eventually fizzled out, and the Trek franchise migrated to Paramount Pictures for a series of feature films starting in 1979. After Paramount released two Trek television series in syndication (Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), the United Paramount Network (UPN) was launched in 1995 with Star Trek: Voyager as its flagship show. Star Trek: Enterprise followed in 2001. After that series was canceled in 2005 and Viacom split into two companies, CBS shut down UPN and created a joint partnership with Warner Bros. to launch The CW, with no new Star Trek series.

Since the Viacom CBS split, Paramount Pictures continued to be associated with the Star Trek feature films, releasing three movies between 2009 and 2016, with another currently being mulled over. On the television side, Star Trek began being associated with the CBS brand, and eventually Star Trek: Discovery became the flagship series for CBS All Access in 2017. Since then Star Trek: Short Treks, Star Trek: Picard, and Star Trek: Lower Decks have followed, also branded as CBS All Access Originals.

In 2021, it could be that Star Trek returns to its Paramount roots.

Paramount Television branding in the Gulf+Western era


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Call it whatever you want. Just make good trek and I’ll consider actually paying.

it is

Man, I wish I was this easily entertained.

Or…. Tom Riker simply has a different opinion to you?

Well put, Dye.

Last edited 1 month ago by Danpaine

wrong

I sincerely hope for ViacomCBS to get this right.

Perhaps they think Paramount will play better globally, certainly CBS is a credible brand in North America but not well known elsewhere.

Frankly, at first brush, Paramount+ seems more like a placeholder, as in “we’d like to make an impact like D—-y+.”. If none of the branding folks come up with something more compelling, those things can stick even if they are suboptimal.

And in this case the Paramount name comes with a risk. After UPN, using Paramount as a television brand carries an incredible amount of negative, unsuccessful reputation baggage in North America no matter how historic a movie studio.

But sometimes senior management can’t see things like that and it has to be put out to focus groups and consumer research firms to get an accurate read.

You are living in the past if you think enough people even remember UPN for that to factor into the thinking here. That was nearly a generation ago. You may as well think that they’re making their decision based on how it will affect VHS rentals.

Your likely right given how limited UPN’s rollout was.

But I also really wonder what brand recognition positive/negative/none Paramount really has.

Perhaps I’m too influenced by the times over the years when I’ve seen the branding / strategic comms folks inadvertently reinforce wishful thinking from top management rather than put forward sufficient evidence to support a pivot. It rarely turns out well: at best, doesn’t do too much harm.

These are the cases where serious money spent on market research is needed to get past the groupthink that can happen in the bubble of the boardroom.

Very true. My guess is that a big part of their thinking is aimed at creating brand recognition, and they’ve maybe settled on “Paramount” as being more viable in the long-run than “CBS” or “Viacom.” And from there the goal can be to build association between the name and the properties of the various companies that fall under that banner.

I’d say Paramount + is good in that light. Might sound like it’s modeled on Disney +, but that’s not all bad; it kind of steers people subconsciously into thinking of the brand AS a brand.

Still plenty of time for that groupthink you refer to to self-sabotage the whole thing, though.

I have nothing against Paramount so the name is fine.

I don’t think anybody cares about UPN anymore.

ViacomCBS is taking a page out of the Disney playbook.

Paramount+ is a nice name for a streaming service.

By the way, Warner Bros. and HBO Max are technically the same company. Both are owned by Warner Media and AT&T.

Paramount+ is a better name than CBS All Access in my opinion. I interested in seeing new content on the service other than Star Trek to consider actually paying.

Last edited 1 month ago by Faze Ninja

cbsaa never worked for me… it’s like i dont wanna watch cbs normally… why would i want more access to it? lol

Exactly!

The name CBS All Access came off more of a joke to me! Wait you mean I get to watch EVERY episode of NCIS, Criminal Minds and Bold and the Beautiful ever made??? Where do I sign up???

At the time the name was chosen, CBS had the highest rated comedy on TV (The Big Bang Theory) and the highest rated drama on TV (NCIS) so it made sense to highlight CBS. Now, not so much.

I kind of wonder why they didn’t call their service Warner Bros. Max or something like that. I’d guess they considered it but figured the HBO name recognition served their goals better. Good service, either way, even if it is a little pricey.

HBO Max is okay but I watch enough HBO already. HBO is more famous than Paramount.

Not in Europe, WB and Paramount are much more present in the people as HBO or especially CBS. No one in Europe would expect anyway WB productions on HBO Max. HBO in Europe only got more famous thanks to GoT, but as it ran e.g. mostly on Sky in Europe, i doubt people would really know what HBO is. WB Max had been definitely a better name for international release.
Same for CBS, this station only people interested in US TV know, but it has absolutely no standing. Paramount itself is also not that famous in Europe, as they often sold their rights to local distributors, but they are definitely more known as CBS – especially the mountain logo. So it makes sense to get international with Paramount related thinks.

Personally I hope Paramount+ is just a work title. They should go bit more abstract like NBC with Peacock. I am sure they could make something with their more famous logo as new title.

i think it should be called viacom+ or viacom all access since viacom is the parent company of all the tv brands now on all access
plus the company is now called viacomcbs not viacomparamount so why name it after one of the brands you own not after onee of the two that are actually in the name of the company

Last edited 1 month ago by michelle

not a terrible idea but i think paramount is a more recognizable name and logo…

Because nobody other than media-obsessed people like us (which is a tiny fragment of the population) knows or cares what Viacom is or what they do. That would be a disaster of a name for a streaming service.

CBS and Paramount are both much more famous brands in the US, though.
Same reason we don’t remember Star Trek II as being from that great movie studio “Gulf+Western”.

wigga wigga wigga VIACOM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_x3unFaBeG0

Last edited 1 month ago by c d

that’s a much better name and i thought the same thing that cbs appeals to older viewers…

I think this really proves they know All Access is mostly a failure which shouldn’t surprise anyone because very few people under 40 watch CBS outside of Big Brother and few of their forensic shows.

Yes CBS as a network is wildly successful but the entire point of All Access was to grab younger viewers since THEY are the ones who mostly stream today. All the stuff they rolled out with didn’t exactly scream a place for twenty somethings and why ANY show there wasn’t going to be watched by a lot of people. Hardly anyone watches that site regularly and it has zero buzz outside of Star Trek which is more niche in itself.

But now they are getting their act together. Not only do they have more movies but networks like BET, MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, etc are things people I ACTUALLY KNOW watches. No one I knows watch much of CBS and hence why I know nobody who has All Access lol. Its really a place for older folks. The 2 or 3 people who are fans of the site itself here sound like they are older as well.

If CBS really wants to get in the game and compete with Netflix, Disney+, Amazon, etc then yeah they have to reeeeaaaaally expand this site. It really did feel like a joke and was really no reason anyone under 30 would watch it much unless you already watched a lot of those shows and of course Star Trek.

So far I am liking what they have done with the site last few months and FINALLY worth the $5.99 I been paying even when there isn’t any new Trek on. Hopefully we’ll see more changes but a name change would go a long way attracting more people.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tiger2

Personally, I doubt they consider All Access to be a failure. I’d think they see that it actually has a lot of potential but could benefit from rebranding and a refocused marketing campaign, which is almost certainly true.

All things considered, I think the service has done fairly well. It could easily have been a disaster, like Quibi seems to be. Trek is almost certainly a massive part of the reason why that didn’t happen, and I bet they’ve learned quite a lot from those shows about will and won’t work in terms of meeting their internal goals. I suspect they’ll end with with long-term viability for the service, whatever it ends up being named, as a result.

No I don’t mean a TOTAL failure, I mean a failure in terms of grabbing a younger demographic. That’s what I mean. It has definitely gotten more subscribers but A. I doubt more younger subscribers and B. I doubt most keeps it all year.

All the new additions they have now attracts a more younger and dare I say it, diverse, audience. No one I knows what CBS much.

And if All Access was doing as well as they wanted, then they would simply keep the name All Acces s as its been called for 6 years now. No other streaming site has changed its named. A name change tells you they know the current one limits its intended audience and not expand on it.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tiger2

Wasn’t the entire point to eliminate the middleman (TV stations that take a cut of your ad revenue) and market their shows directly to the customer through streaming? Star Trek was CBS-AA’s tentpole and doesn’t exactly scream ‘young audiences!’ And their other big name original (The Good Fight) skews even older. Jordan Peele finds a younger audience, but I’m not sure The Twilight Zone does, it sounds like another show your grandparents loved.

Getting the younger streaming crowd was a plus, but not the primary goal. Getting more of those almighty dollars was the point.

Last edited 1 month ago by Thorny

One of things Moonves originally said about having All Access was to find a way to tap into younger demographics or ‘the next generation’ of viewers, probably the way CW does today. Unfortunately none of those shows are on AA, they are all on Netflix and now HBO Max.

So it wasn’t the ONLY factor, I agree, but yes it was certainly one of them. But yes I agree, the irony is the new shows they have now are still mostly for older people which tells me the site is still being made by the same people who run CBS and that’s another issue. The only show that skewed a bit younger was the Big Brother show but that seem to have failed because it never lasted beyond the first season, but the Big Brother show on CBS is still a huge hit. That tells me it didn’t attract as many people who watch the main show.

All the new additions they have on there now skews much younger and thats a GOOD thing going forward. Because they know they have to attract younger viewers in time.

UPN+

“We’re back, baby! The channel that brought you new Star Trek and Twilight Zone now brings you… new Star Trek and Twilight Zone!”

Egads, does that mean we can look forward to Platypus Man 2021?

Where’s the head-banging emoji when I really need it?

Hey, I’d be up for a Nowhere Man reboot/continuation…

I liked that show and it was unfortunate that it never really got to explore its premise beyond the first season. At least they revealed what was going on at the end, even if that lead to a massive never-explored cliffhanger.

Homeboys in Outer Space, coming 2021!

I haven’t read the article mainly because I honestly don’t care what they rebrand themselves as unless it includes a termination of their deal with Secret Hideout to make Trek. Everything I have read about what they plan to do with their network wouldn’t be enough to get me to subscribe if they didn’t have Trek.

Star Trek needs a reset button.

I believe the reset button is still with Putin after Hilliary gave it to him. Gotta fetch it from there! ;)

Voyager wore it out.

While you may not like Kurtzman Trek, it is commercially successful. I can’t see anything changing for at least 10 years…

Just call it UPN….

Why not PTN? That’s what it was going to be called in the 70s when STAR TREK was first intended to be coming back to TV. Though I guess it would be streaming rather than television now, so it would be PSN. That’s it: the network motto is IN THE WIND, so it would read as PSN IN THE WIND.

Too close to PTEN that was responsible for Babylon 5.

OMG! Pls NO! “Paramount” barding on TV is NOT working. United Paramount Network anyone?

By the time it was nearing its end, I doubt many people even remembered what the P stood for. The revamped logo didn’t even have the triangle representing the Paramount mountain.

Paramount+…

Hm, first thought: sounds too much like Disney+

Second thought: Disney doesn’t have the alliteration :-)

Anything’s better than the non-accessible name CBS All Access…

Disney+ is better than CBS All Access in some ways. Paramount+ got a long way to go…

Third thought: Paramount tries, Disney does :-)

BTW: I think the name USS Cerritos was a missed opportunity. It should have finally been the USS Paramount on Lower Decks…Viacom class starship… built on the Gulf+Western shipyards…

Last edited 1 month ago by Garth Lorca

Too much American greed and capitalism in the name.

But it lets TREK invade the ‘real’ future, sort of like WalMart buying Weyland-Yutani centuries prior to ALIEN RESURRECTION.

My first thought when I see CBS name is ‘the company that wound up owning TWIN PEAKS, even though ABC broadcast it originally,’ despite having grown up with the Eye network constantly on, throughout the 60s and 70s (my family was all-in with getting their news from Cronkite and entertainment from GUNSMOKE and those hideous comedies. I still flinch when I see a GOMER PYLE listing. )

Not a fan of the ‘+’ as we’re seeing that with Apple TV as well as Disney. Maybe Paramount should take a page from Harve Bennett and Stan Lee and call the new network EXCELSIOR (the great experiment.)

Last edited 1 month ago by kmart

Maybe alliteration isn’t the best thing in this case… The people who insist on referring to Discovery as “STD” are going to have a field day if it’s airing on “PP”. 🤔

Good point Can Calhoun.

“PP” is truly a facepalm-inducing marketing error that their strategic comms folks should have had the courage to confront Redmond, Baklish and the board with the moment someone started using it internally as a placeholder to describe the vision/concept.

I was wrong. This may be worse than some of the rebranding proposals I’ve seen senior management latch onto.

Well, I’m glad they’re at least done a controlled leak. Perhaps that also means that they are doing some serious global consumer research on this.

Maybe they could just call it UPN or something. Whatever it’s called, it needs more content. Star Trek is not enough to convince me to pay the monthly subscription.

Last edited 1 month ago by Faze Ninja

Star Trek would be the ONLY reason I’d ever consider paying for streaming. I signed up with Netflix only for DSC and then switched to Amazon only for PIC. I also watched the fourth season of The Expanse there and tried to get into Man in the High Castle, but only because I had already paid for it.

I like some other stuff a lot, but I want it on BD anyway. Trek is the only property I’d pay for in streaming.

I signed up for Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max and others. Star Trek is not why I use streaming. Escapism from it all.

I’m an avid BD collector. The only reason I would ever use streaming is to get to see Trek earlier. Anything else normally has to wait for the BD release. If there is none, I’ll ignore it…

Flattery will get you everywhere. The folks at Disney+ must be pleased.
Don’t be surprised to see Trek features just going to the streaming service, sometime in 2024.

Have you seen their new layout on AA as well? Even that looks a bit Disney+ lol.

As long as the price point doesn’t go up too much. AT&T is going to make me pay double to get original DC Comics programming in the near future.

Yeah on HBO Max

CBS is a big brand in the US, but they are right it still skews older. Paramount is well-known worldwide, it’s associated closely with Trek, Indiana Jones and Mission: Impossible. If they want to take this global, Paramount still has cache, even though mismanagement has hurt it over the last decade. Pluto though has the hip momentum and the bigger subscriber base, I kinda think they might have done well turning All Access into a tier of that. Pluto+?

Will I have to pay more?

Of course! That’s what the Plus means!

I doubt it. They’ll want to stay price competitive with Hulu, Peacock and Disney+.

Call it
GalaxyPics+

The solution is obvious. The original name for the United Paramount Network was the Paramount United Network (early press stories call it this) until someone decided PUN wasn’t the best name for the new enterprise. So the rebranded streaming service must be called PUN (or the hipper pun)- a way to show thanks to the Trekkies who have kept CBSAA afloat, in between seasons of Strange Angel and Big Brother: Over the Top.

Even if the name does change, will the streaming service still have the six classic Star Trek shows (The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise) and the ten classic Star Trek movies (The Motion Picture, The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock, The Voyage Home, The Final Frontier, The Undiscovered Country, Generations, First Contact, Insurrection and Nemesis)?

The service has all of the Trek television shows, but the movies are sporadically put on and taken off the service. As we write this there are 4 of the first 10 movies on it; a few weeks ago there were 6. I would hope that when the full Paramount+ (or whatever they call it) launches that all of the Trek movies would be on it. They have never had any of the Kelvin movies on it, at least since Discovery launched. Star Trek Beyond is currently on the IMDB streaming service.

Hopefully they add 4K streaming.

The price – content ratio is currently a problem for me. Basically, if you aren’t watching anything else (I’ve never watched anything else on there), a monthly subscription for 4 episodes of Trek a month feels a little steep. I’m doing it, because I love Trek and I want to see all the new Trek the moment it’s available, but it is hard to justify. They should consider making the commercial tier free, like Peacock.

And what about all the other classic shows like… the Ron Perlman/Linda Hamilton series Beauty and the Beast? Even if the name of the streaming service does change, will the series, along with all the other classic shows, stay on that service?

If true, this particular name makes a lot of sense

Just rename it to Control.

Wow, original much? Seems like the creatives behind CBSAA are as unimaginative as the minds working on NuTrek. I agree that “Paramount” in the name is a much better brand, but maybe make it somehow related to a mountain? Paramount Vista? Summit?

Smart ideas albatrosity.

And it shows how one, relatively small fan board, could bring forth some really good ideas in a couple of days when ViacomCBS has likely been stuck in their “otherbrand+” wanabe rut for a few months.

Now where were the strategic comms pros when ViacomCBS needed them? Perhaps not listened to.

They could certainly do (and probably WILL do) a lot worse than Paramount Vista.

Paramount Vista as the main streamer, with Paramount Summit to replace Showtime as the op-ed ad-free option would be brilliant.

They really lean into the visual image of the Paramount logo, and distance themselves from the failure of UPN.

albatrosity, I’m almost afraid to cheer this on for fear that the branding folks and legal counsel won’t want to pick up on a suggestion coming out of a on-board. It’s definitely really great though.

Star Trek needs to return to its roots

Last edited 1 month ago by Jason

I agree, back to basics.

Does this mean that the Star Trek movies will all be on it too?

I hope it’s more than just a name change. Trek has to be taken out of the incompetent clutches of CBS and given back to Paramount before it’s too late and the brand is irretrievably damaged.

Last edited 1 month ago by Soren