Viacomcbs New Streaming Service Lacks Clear Vision &Amp; Leads To Stock Drop
Credit: Patrick Pelster (via Wikimedia Commons)

ViacomCBS had their highly anticipated announcement of a new streaming service today, but it didn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

Per Deadline, in addition to revealing a 2019 Q4 drop in revenue totaling $273 million — which dropped ViacomCBS quickly by 15% — the new streaming service plans lacked specificity.

It’s getting a “soft launch” later in 2020, per CNBC, and CEO Bob Bakish said it’ll include content from Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and up to 1,000 movies, featuring a big Paramount Pictures catalog.

CHECK OUT: New ViacomCBS streaming service to unify everything they have

CBS All Access carryover & 3 streaming tiers

Some of the content from ViacomCBS’ streaming service, CBS All Access, will transfer over to the larger streaming service. This platform doesn’t yet have a name or a price point.

Then there’s the matter of Showtime, which is also under the corproate umbrella. Bakish spoke about that arm of the company’s streaming venture:

“Over the years, the premium cable outlet has made strong progress elevating its brand, deepening its programming lineup, expanding its reach through OTT. That said, it was a working-capital headwind for the company in 2019 and the time is right to…evolve the programming mix.”


This seems to only add to the uncertainty about what’s going on. So, too, is the three different tiers of subscribers Bakish proposed for the new streaming service in Thursday’s analysts call.

These tiers are purportedly going to consist of a free option, a “broad pay” middle tier choice and a premium alternative. Again, this isn’t the most clear-cut plan for a hopeful legitimate Streaming Wars competitor.

CHECK OUT: CBS All Access Star Trek: Picard review: Jean-Luc’s back

Corporate merger growing pains

The Q4 revenue loss wasn’t a surprise. Transition costs associated with the CBS-Viacom merger weren’t going to be cheap. The companies are also executing their own strategies, Bakish explained.

Overall, unifying the creative vision of the media conglomerate is easier said than done. Since the merger, the entities at least seemed to be working together and forging ahead on streaming plans. At this point, though, it’s all still very much a muddled work in progress — still disparate behind the scenes.

Competing against streaming giants is already an uphill battle. November saw the launches for Apple TV+ and Disney+, who both have immense brand recognition and purchasing power.

On the horizon are NBCUniversal’s Peacock and HBO Max, who’ve both been extremely aggressive in scooping up content and developing their own programming.

Although ViacomCBS has a treasure trove of owned IPs, they recognize CBS All Access can’t compete with any of the aforementioned services. Thus, we have the yet-to-be-named new host with a yet-to-be-defined business strategy.

Wall Street’s lack of confidence in ViacomCBS’ current Streaming Wars trajectory doesn’t exactly bode well.

CHECK OUT: Is ViacomCBS’ Quibi alliance the dawn of a new era in streaming content?