ViacomCBS on Thursday officially lifted the curtain on its newest streaming service Paramount Plus, a rebranded version of its CBS All Access service that was launched seven years earlier before CBS and Viacom agreed to consummate its businesses and content libraries.
The new Paramount Plus will look familiar to former subscribers of CBS All Access: On day one, it offers the same TV shows and movies from across the ViacomCBS content library (CBS, Comedy Central, BET, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, Smithsonian Channel, VH1 and original content) that former CBS All Access subscribers have had, well, access to since shortly after Viacom and CBS merged two years ago.
But the relaunch is more than just a name change: Paramount Plus signals ViacomCBS’ interest in building out a robust, premium service that promises to include a wealth of original, exclusive content for consumption both in the United States and internationally.
In a press release issued on Thursday, CBS executives said the new Paramount Plus was launching with over 30,000 hours of television shows and movies, including new original content that will be exclusive to the streaming service going forward.
That content includes a new television series focused on Nickelodeon’s flagship cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants, a documentary program under the company’s MTV subsidiary that looks at the early days of the COVID-19 virus, a spin-off of the popular “60 Minutes” news magazine franchise and several movies from Paramount Pictures slated for theatrical release this year.
“The launch of Paramount Plus, which builds on our legacy of innovation and superior storytelling, is a significant milestone for ViacomCBS that demonstrates our commitment to being a global leader in streaming,” Tom Ryan, the president of the company’s streaming division and a co-founder of its ad-supported streaming service Pluto TV, said in a statement. “By combining fresh original content with live and on-demand programming and an established library of titles from world-class entertainment brands, we have created an unrivaled service that offers live sports, breaking news and entertainment for all audiences.”
In addition to the movies and shows rolling out today, ViacomCBS executives say Paramount Plus will launch three dozen original, exclusive programs on the platform, including a reboot of the once-popular VH1 series “Behind the Music” and a new computer-animated version of the Nickelodeon cartoon “Rugrats.”
Customers who subscribed to CBS All Access, the company’s former premium streaming service that was launched in 2014, will have immediate access to Paramount Plus. New customers can sign up for Paramount Plus for $6 a month if they’re willing to sit through a few ad breaks or $10 a month if they want interruption-free streaming (those prices will change in June, executives said). A one-month free trial is being offered for new customers who want to try out the service before paying for it.
In addition to the relaunch of CBS All Access under the Paramount Plus brand, international variants of Paramount Plus are launching in 18 Latin American countries and Canada on Thursday, with more countries launching in the coming weeks. Prices will vary by market.