Paramount+ Aims to Reverse the CBS Age Demo

NEWS ANALYSIS — When CBS All Access morphs into Paramount+ on March 4, Bob Bakish, CEO of corporate parent ViacomCBS, is hoping to reverse the CBS brand’s aging process by 20 years. The network has long coveted older viewers (55+) as a means of generating strong Nielsen ratings and advertisers. But in the over-the-top video ecosystem, age is not a friend or desired demo. Millennials, not 60-and-older television viewers, stream video in large percentages.

As a result, in addition to appealing to older sports viewers with mainstays such as the NFL and the PGA Tour, Paramount+ is betting big on NCAA sports and UEFA European professional soccer — the latter exclusive to the U.S. market and popular with younger male viewers. Paramount Pictures is also producing sequels to Flashdance, The Italian Job, Love Story and Grease, among other classic movies, to keep the nostalgia going.

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If you look at CBS All Access, it is [skewing] about 20 years younger, so materially younger audience on the same schedule of programming,” Bakish told Fox Business Network’s “Barron’s Roundtable.”

To capture as wide a streaming demo as possible, Paramount+ will incorporate programming from across the ViacomCBS portfolio, including MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, BET, also the Smithsonian brand in the documentary space. The $4.99 and $9.99 (ad-free) platform features 30,000 episodes of library product across all brands, plus a slate of 36 original series for 2021 — increasing to 50 in 2022.

Interestingly, catalog episodes of “Criminal Minds” on Netflix ranked No. 1 recently by Nielsen. Paramount+ will stream all seasons of the long-running series, in addition to new spin-offs of the franchise.

Separately, the streamer will have the entire Nickelodeon catalog, including all the “SpongeBob SquarePants” episodes, plus the new “SpongeBob” movie as well as “Kamp Koral,” the first SpongeBob franchise spinoff.

The platform is also going deep with reality TV, including a new version of MTV’s “The Challenge,” “Big Brother” and “Love Island.”

“We’re adding a lot of content, both original and library,” Bakish said. “It appeals really across demographics, and that’s going to make Paramount+ a much broader service than the All Access it’s replacing, including appealing to a much wider demographic.”


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