For those of you looking for even more things to watch on TV, ViacomCBS is hoping you’ll turn to Paramount+.
The new streaming service, which debuted on Thursday for $9.99 monthly, will grow to feature over 30,000 episodes of TV, more than 2,500 movies, and over 1,000 live sporting events, as well as live news coverage. It’s part of the ViacomCBS bet that streaming is the future of media, pinning its hopes on the idea that its streaming businesses can reach $7 billion in revenue by 2024.
“This is a major investment for us because we think the future of streaming is very bright,” ViacomCBS CFO Naveen Chopra told Cheddar. “The nature of that investment is really all about content.”
But with a saturated market out there — already more than half of Americans subscribe to one to three services, according to a YouGov survey — there are questions about whether or not there’s space for yet another platform.
Certainly, Paramount+ gets bonuses for having built-in franchises ranging from Star Trek to Rugrats to Spongebob Squarepants, as well as the ability to reboot classics like Frasier and The Real World. It’s made investments in household names, including bringing the video game franchise Halo to the small screen. The company aims to launch 36 original series in its first year, with 50 more to follow in 2022. Films will appear on the service a shortened 30 to 45 days after they appear in theater, further broadening its appeal.
While a $1 billion content budget for ViacomCBS last year may seem like a lot, it’s nowhere near what the industry leader Netflix spends, which could reach $19 billion this year according to Bankr. And when it comes to content people demand, the Paramount+ predecessor CBS All Access wasn’t near the top of the list. It comes in sixth on consumer’s minds when it comes to original content, per Parrot Analytics.
But there are two major things Paramount+ will offer that other existing streamers haven’t really tapped into yet. Due to existing contracts, it will have the ability to bring live sporting events, ranging from March Madness to NFL games, to its platform, as well as news. This ability to stream games and headlines wherever you are could be a draw for sports fans and news junkies, especially those who have cut the cord.
“It’s a lot of content that we know is extremely valuable to consumers, but has not honestly been well-served by existing streaming services,” Chopra said.
One other boon to Paramount+ will be that it is offering two subscriptions options at different price points. While today’s launch is ad-free, it will offer an ad-supported version at $4.99 a month starting in June.
“Part of the reason that we have a two-tier offering is that we think customers come in different shapes and sizes and we want to be able to give them different ways to access our content depending on what works for them,” Chopra said. “I think the important thing is that we provide that flexibility, and we really like the business model regardless of which tier one of our customers signs up for.”
Not only does this allow it to take advantage of subscription revenue, but it can also help it reach out to marketers who are looking to reach this growing cord-cutting audience, especially considering that Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video have yet to allow ads.
In addition, 47 percent of consumers said they tried at least one ad-supported free streaming service during the pandemic, according to Deloitte, a trend that is sure to stay as budgets remain tight post-pandemic closures. So, while the streaming space is growing increasingly crowded, people may be willing to try something out if it’s at a low enough price point.