ViacomCBS to shut down niche streaming services ahead of Paramount Plus launch

(Logo: ViacomCBS/Graphic: The Desk)

ViacomCBS will sunset several niche streaming services ahead of its relaunch of CBS All Access as Paramount Plus.

The announcement was made by Robert Bakish, the chief executive of ViacomCBS, at an technology and media conference this week.

Over the next couple of months, ViacomCBS will shut down Comedy Central Now, MTV Hits and a few others that were largely distributed through third party platforms like Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV.

These apps never amassed a sizable audience, and their library of content will eventually be offered in CBS All Access when it relaunches under the Paramount Plus branding next year. Some shows from Comedy Central and MTV are already included in CBS All Access. News of the company’s decision to sunset the streaming apps was first reported by trade publication The Streamable.

Other niche streaming services will continue to exist alongside Paramount Plus, including BET Plus, which is operated through a partnership with comedian Tyler Perry. Noggin, a streaming app with a library of content aimed at children, will also continue to be offered.

Showtime and Pluto TV will also continue to operate as separate streaming services.

Paramount Plus is expected to launch next year for $10 a month — the same price as CBS All Access’ ad-free tier — and will include content across the ViacomCBS library of TV shows and movies.

The relaunch of CBS All Access continues a trend of television networks and film studios who are increasingly focused on building their own streaming services to offer consumers direct access to their content, with the idea being that a direct-to-consumer relationship is more financially lucrative than partnering with a third-party television network or streaming service.

Over the last few years, all four major television broadcast networks — ABC (Hulu, Disney Plus), CBS (CBS All Access, Showtime), NBC (Peacock) and Fox (Tubi TV) — have either launched their own streaming services or purchased existing ones to break into the industry.

Cable networks are getting in on the action too: ESPN, HBO, AMC and Discovery either have or will offer direct-to-consumer streaming services.