ViacomCBS has pulled the curtain back on plans to launch a premium international streaming service, which will premiere new Showtime and CBS All Access originals, and will go live across three big territories in early 2021.
The yet-to-be-named streamer — first mooted in May — was discussed on the ViacomCBS second-quarter earnings call on Thursday, with the company drawing up plans to go live in Australia, Latin America (including Argentina, Brazil and Mexico) and the Nordics next year.
ViacomCBS said the service will be “competitively priced” and has ambitions to take on market stalwarts, including Netflix and Amazon. It will cater to viewers of all ages by tapping into Viacom and CBS’s annual content spend of $13BN, as well as their combined archive of 140,000 TV episodes and 40,000 films.
Among the streamer’s lineup will be new originals, such as Showtime’s Halo and American Rust; kids TV series including Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants spin-off Kamp Koral; series like Twin Peaks and Dexter; and classic films. Originals from ViacomCBS International Studios will also feature. ViacomCBS will honor licensing deals with third parties for existing series, such as Billions.
“The aim is to achieve significant growth in what is a rapidly expanding sector,” said David Lynn, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International. He added that the service will supersede CBS All Access in the markets where the streamer already exists, such as Australia, and will complement the ad-funded Pluto. “That twin-track strategy will help differentiate ourselves,” he told Deadline.
The streamer will be built on CBS All Access’ existing technology and platform, which is also being retooled in the U.S. to form a “super service” streamer domestically. Lynn declined to say if the international streamer will share a name with the new U.S. service. “We’ll be announcing the brand closer to launch,” he said.
Lynn would also not be drawn on whether the international streamer will launch in the UK, where ViacomCBS runs ad-funded My5 and Pluto. “Clearly we will be looking at other markets and we do have plans for phase two markets, but I wouldn’t comment on any particular one at this stage,” he said.