ViacomCBS to Launch International Streaming Service in Early 2021

All new Showtime series will debut first on unnamed SVOD platform

Twilight Zone Season 2
Robert Falconer/CBS

ViacomCBS is launching an international streaming service in early 2021, the company announced during its second-quarter earnings call Thursday. All new Showtime series, including the much-anticipated “Halo” adaptation and the upcoming “American Rust,” will debut first on the currently unnamed SVOD (subscriber video on demand) platform, which will first go live in Australia, Latin America, and Nordic countries.

The new service, which will have content for all ages, will require a paid subscription. The international streaming service launch is separate from the upcoming CBS All Access rebrand in the United States, though both are expected to begin in 2021.

CBS All Access originals, including “Guilty Party” and “The Harper House,” will also premiere exclusively on the new streaming service, ViacomCBS said. The new service, which will run off of the CBS All Access platform and technology, will have movies from Paramount Pictures as well as premieres and library material from Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Paramount Network.

“The exact product details and pricing, which we haven’t announced, will vary by individual markets,” ViacomCBS president and CEO Bob Bakish said during the company’s Q2 earnings call Thursday. “But broadly speaking, the new service will feature exclusive first-run premieres. We’re going to get those from the slate we’re using with CBS All Access in the U.S., from Showtime, and from ViacomCBS International Studios. Alongside that, we’ll use Paramount movies, box sets from CBS and Viacom Media Networks. If you want to just compare it at a high level to what we’re doing in the U.S., it will be a much more entertainment focused product, it doesn’t really have a material sports lane to it. And it will have an output deal from Showtime, because we don’t operate Showtime Networks outside the United States.”

The premium service’s rollout is timed to the international expansion of ViacomCBS’ free, ad-supporting streaming service, Pluto TV. Pluto plans to expand into Brazil and Spain by the end of 2020, and then to France and Italy in 2021.

“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,” David Lynn, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI), said in a press release accompanying the Q2 earnings call. “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.”

“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,” Pierluigi Gazzolo, president of streaming for VCNI, added. “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.”


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