Last year, ViacomCBS announced its CBS All Access streaming service would soon rebrand as Paramount+, to better reflect the expanded content lineup following the Viacom-CBS merger in 2019. Today, the company says it has set a launch date for Paramount+ in the U.S.: March 4, 2021. It’s also sharing the launch dates for other international markets, including Latin America, Canada and the Nordics.
The service will debut on March 4 in Latin American markets, and will rebrand from CBS All Access to Paramount+ in Canada at the same time. However, Canada won’t receive the expanded lineup until later in 2021. The Nordics region will see the service arrive on March 25, 2021, which is followed by a launch in Australia in “mid-2021.”
The company had been touting its plans for the rebranded service since earlier last year, explaining how the new streaming offering, an expansion of CBS All Access, would allow it to showcase the company’s biggest franchises and its deep library, while also offering a home to its growing collection of original content, like the multiple “Star Trek” series now streaming on CBS All Access and “The Good Wife” spin-off, “The Good Fight,” among others.
The service will also continue to stream sports, like NFL games and those from other leagues, like the NCAA and PGA, and live stream news from CBSN and local stations.
Last year, ViacomCBS additionally announced other originals it had planned for the new service, including “The Offer,” a scripted limited series about the making of “The Godfather;” CIA spy drama “Lioness,” created by Taylor Sheridan; a reimagined version of MTV’s “Behind the Music,” which will focus on the past 40 years; a true crime docu-series, “The Real Criminal Minds,” based on the fictional TV hit; and a revival of BET’s “The Game.”
There will be expanded children’s programming, too, including a new kids original series “Kamp Koral,” from Nickelodeon’s “Spongebob Squarepants.” And it it will be the subscription video on demand home for the “The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run.”
CBS All Access had already been expanding its lineup ahead of the full rebrand, with the goal of reaching more than 30,000 episodes and movies, by incorporating content from ViacomCBS-owned brands like BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Pictures.
Despite its plans to make Paramount+ a standalone destination, ViacomCBS has been licensing its content to other streamers, as well. During its first full year as a newly combined company in 2020, ViacomCBS made carriage deals with Comcast, Dish, Verizon (TechCrunch’s parent), Nextstar, Meredith, Cox and Sinclair, and hashed out agreements with YouTube TV and Hulu for incremental revenues. Both YouTube TV and Hulu added over a half dozen ViacomCBS-owned channels to their respective lineups and hiked prices, as a result.
Because Paramount+ is built on CBS All Access’ existing tech platform, it will have the same distribution across platforms (TV, web, and mobile) as its predecessor from day one.
Today, CBS All Access is estimated to have around 8 million subscribers, which makes it far smaller than other newer rivals like Disney+ (73M+) and HBO Max (12.6M “activated users”).