ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI), a division of ViacomCBS, is preparing a new premium streaming service that will start launching internationally early next year. The company pointed out Brazil, Mexico and Argentina as key markets for the start of the new operation.
“Launch priority will be given in 2021 to fast-growing OTT markets where ViacomCBS has identified the opportunity to become a leader in paid-for streaming based on its competitive position”, reads a company statement. OTT, or over-the-top is an industry term for streaming media offered via the Internet. Alongside Latin America, the company also highlighted Australia, where its existing 10 All Access service will be rebranded and expanded, and Nordic countries, as the other places it is giving preference for the rollout.
Both All Access and Paramount+, which are existing streaming services operated by ViacomCBS in some markets outside the United States, will be probably be rebranded and its libraries beefed up.
ViacomCBS owns many iconic entertainment brands, including Paramount, Nickelodeon, CBS, MTV, Showtime, Comedy Central, and Pluto TV.
The service will offer premieres of all new Showtime series, including upcoming Halo and Rust. CBS All Access originals will also premiere exclusively on the new service, such as Guilty Party and The Harper House.
The platform will also feature movies from Paramount Pictures and content from Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Paramount Network, as well as originals from ViacomCBS International Studios, but the availability of content will vary from one region to another – depending on existing distribution deals. “ViacomCBS will work with existing distribution partners, as well as new distributors, to market the service to their subscribers”, says the company.
Viacom’s platform will be another player in the crowded field of the global streaming wars
The so-called streaming wars will certainly increase in intensity with the arrival of the new platform, whose branding was not revealed yet, to Latin America. It is going to compete directly with incumbents Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, as well as Disney+, which will arrive in Latin America next November, and HBO Max, set to launch sometime in 2021.
David Lynn, President and CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International, commented, “Launching a super-sized premium streaming service will be a game-changer for ViacomCBS and can help us become as powerful a player in international streaming as we are in linear TV. We will market a world-class content offering at a very competitive price, and we’re convinced it will have significant appeal for audiences everywhere and strong growth potential in every market.”
Viacom CBS has been increasing its presence in Latin America lately. After buying Argentinian network Telefe and Brazilian comedy production firm Porta dos Fundos in 2017, the media giant brought Pluto TV, its free ad-based streaming platform to 17 Latin American countries last April. Brazil will also receive the service later this year. Earlier this year, the company and Colombia’s Dynamo announced a partnership to develop and produce original content for global audiences.
Said Pierluigi Gazzolo, president of streaming for ViacomCBS Networks International: “With more than 200 million new streaming subscriptions due to come online internationally by 2025, we’re very confident we can build a meaningful subscriber base in the next few years. ViacomCBS is one of a very small handful of elite content companies with broad enough content pipelines and deep enough content libraries to lead in all segments of the video entertainment market.”
Rollout of new service will happen in parallel to Pluto TV’s expansion
The international streaming service’s launch will happen in parallel to the ongoing rollout of the firm’s free streaming service Pluto TV, which recently debuted across Spanish-speaking Latin America countries, following launches in the U.K. and Germany. Pluto TV is planning to expand into Brazil and Spain by the end of 2020 and France and Italy in 2021.
According to ViacomCBS’ quarterly financial results, Pluto TV reached 33 million monthly active users (MAUs). The company does not break down figures into regions, but international operations – encompassing both Europe and Latin America – registered 6.5 million users on June 30. In the U.S., the platform grew 61% year over year.
The roll-out of the new service will be executed using ViacomCBS’s existing international infrastructure, which spans offices in more than 30 countries, to improve cost-efficiency and, according to the firm, “allow investment to be focused on-screen.