OTT platforms to benefit from CBS/Viacom merger “in the very near future”

The OTT platforms of ViacomCBS will see a boost from the just-concluded merger “quite soon”, the company’s top execs have confirmed.

Speaking on a conference call, CBS chairman and CEO Joe Ianniello identified direct-to-consumer streaming as one of the company’s key pillars of growth, and said that the breadth of content made available by the deal will serve as a boost for its OTT platforms.

“This deal will allow us to share our premium content and marquee brands in order to drive growth in both these areas,” said Ianniello. “Just think about getting content from Nickelodeon, BET, MTV and Comedy Central to CBS All Access and Paramount movies to Showtime. And also imagine our AVOD properties like CBS sports HQ and ET Live being added to Pluto.” 

“Plus all of this will increasingly be done on a global basis where the combined company will have the best of both worlds, premium US programming that seamlessly travels across borders and hundreds of thousands of hours of locally produced international programming, all available with a click of a button.”

Bob Bakish, ViacomCBS CEO, echoed these sentiments, highlighting the acceleration of its direct-to-consumer offerings as “the first part of our strategy.”

“From the start, we will have a compelling portfolio of streaming products that include subscription and ad-based offerings,” Bakish said. “These include CBS All Access and Showtime OTT, which deliver premium branded content live and on-demand to millions of subscribers. They also include Pluto TV, the leading free streaming TV service in the US as well as niche subscription products like Noggin and our forthcoming BET+. 

“This mix creates a powerful D2C ecosystem, which will allow us to serve consumers at different price points while enabling portfolio cross-selling. This includes using our free ad supported offerings as a powerful traffic funnel, a consumer entry point to upsell from as well as a place where we can catch and continue to create value from consumers taking a pause from subscription services.”

Responding to a question on how soon the content will be available to spread, Bakish clarified that there is “nothing at all” stopping the company from flexing its portfolio “in the very near future”. He added that “there is some low-hanging fruit there that we will seek to pick quite soon”.

The company will hope that this content share will give them a competitive edge against Netflix and put them in good standing ahead of WarnerMedia and Disney’s respective D2C launches later this year. 

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