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This article was published on February 8, 2020

ViacomCBS reportedly joining the streaming wars… again

ViacomCBS reportedly joining the streaming wars… again
Rachel Kaser
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Rachel Kaser

Internet Culture Writer

Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.

A new report alleges that ViacomCBS, the baby conglomerate born from the merger of Viacom and CBS, plans to enter the fierce streaming wars. It’s got some pretty stiff competition, and it’s going to be an uphill battle to stand out now that everyone else has taken their shots.

The report, from CNBC, says that ViacomCBS has plans to create a new streaming service. It feels inevitable — all of the other major media conglomerates have joined the streaming wars. Warner Media is rolling out HBO Max. NBCUniversal has Peacock. The Walt Disney Company has Disney+ and Hulu. A post-merger ViacomCBS service has been a rumor for a while: Yaron mentioned it in his breakdown of the potential pricing of all streaming services combined.

[Read: You can stream NBC Universal’s Peacock service for free]

Thing is, ViacomCBS was already part of the streaming wars. The company has CBS All Access and Showtime, two major services. CBS All Access is decidedly unsexy compared with something like Netflix, or the promotional images for Peacock. But it’s still the same thing: a service from which you can stream several major shows, movies, etc. According to the CNBC report, it’d build the new streaming service on the back of All Access, combining the assets of both companies post-merger.

This hypothetical “ViacomCBS AllAccess” would combine Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, and Paramount’s film library. There would be a version with advertisements, and one without, and a premium subscription that would include Showtime, according to CNBC’s sources. The cited price would be “probably less” than $10 a month. For reference, the ad-free version of CBS All Access currently costs $9.99.

If it’d announced this even this time last year, I’d have said the company stood a good chance of competing. Now, though, I’m not sure. Given that so many other services have accrued such libraries of content, and have such competitive pricing, it’s going to have to offer some choice shows and movies to attract the attention of an already-oversaturated market.

All Access currently has at least one ingredient that’s been key for participating in the streaming wars so far: original content. Star Trek Picard debuted on the service a couple of weeks ago. If the company can leverage what it owns to make more shows in familiar franchises (kind of like what Disney is doing), we might have something here.

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