CBS All Access and Showtime OTT Top 16.2 Million Combined Subs

ViacomCBS — which is planning to rebrand CBS All Access into a “super service” on par with HBO Max, Peacock and Disney+ — Aug. 6 reported its SVOD services CBS All Access and Showtime OTT reached 16.2 million combined subscribers through the second quarter ended June 30.

That’s up 74% from 9.3 million subs during the previous-year period.

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The company announced All Access continued to break undisclosed records, with paid subs, streams and minutes watched reaching all-time highs in the quarter — driven by original programming, Paramount movies and children’s content from Nickelodeon. Showtime OTT also delivered its “best quarter ever” in subscriber sign-ups, streams and minutes watched, the company announced, driven by original programming, including “Homeland,” “Billions” and “The Chi.”

Separately, ViacomCBS-owned AVOD platform Pluto TV grew its domestic monthly active users 61% to 26.5 million, from 16.5 million during the previous-year period. In April, Pluto TV entered 17 Latin American markets, and in addition to its presence in Europe, this expansion brought Pluto TV’s total international monthly users to 6.5 million — or 33 million worldwide. Pluto TV increased its platform distribution through deals with Verizon, TiVo and LG.

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ViacomCBS said domestic streaming and digital video revenue in the quarter rose to $489 million, up 25% year-over-year, driven by 52% growth in streaming subscription revenue.

“Our results underscored … rapid acceleration of our streaming business, where we achieved record users and revenue in free and pay while building toward the relaunch of our diversified super service,” CEO Bob Bakish said in a statement.

Indeed, last month ViacomCBS unveiled the first major step in transforming All Access in early 2021. The company added more than 3,500 episodes from the ViacomCBS portfolio, spanning series from BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Smithsonian and more. The All Access library now has more than 20,000 episodes and movies. The platform will be home to a slate of new original and exclusive movies and series, including “Big Brother Live Feeds,” “The Stand,”  animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” feature film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, and “Kamp Koral,” a new original kids’ series premiering in 2021 and the first spinoff derived from “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

The new All Access will also feature live programming, including news, tentpole events, sports, local CBS stations nationwide and CBSN, CBS News, The Super Bowl, The Grammy Awards, The Academy of Country Music Awards and The Tony Awards. It will also feature major sporting events from golf to football to basketball and UEFA club soccer competitions as the exclusive streaming home to the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League in the United States.

ViacomCBS Announces Fall Launch of EyeQ Ad Platform

ViacomCBS announced the planned fall 2020 launch of ViacomCBS EyeQ, a connected video advertising platform that will serve as a single transactional point of entry for digital video content from the company’s portfolio of broadcast, entertainment, news and sports networks, according to the company.

EyeQ will bring together all of the company’s connected video assets — including BET, CBS Television Network, CBS All Access, CBSN, CBS Sports HQ, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, Pluto TV and VH1 — allowing advertisers to access a viewing audience that measures 50 million full-episode monthly unique viewers in the United States, and 150 million across all content and all devices, according to the company.

“The launch of EyeQ marks the arrival of one of the biggest premium video platforms in digital media,” John Halley, chief operating officer of advertising revenue at ViacomCBS, said in a statement. “In unifying the operating backend and go-to-market of three large pre-existing players — CBS Interactive, Pluto TV, and Viacom Video — we have consolidated a massive audience footprint that will deliver quality, scale, and capabilities that cannot be matched.”

“EyeQ is game changing,” David Lawenda, EVP of digital sales and strategy at ViacomCBS, said in a statement. “It is a portal into 50 million highly engaged, full-episode viewers watching our content each month, with 80% of the consumption happening on TV glass. And ViacomCBS can now offer unified buying and frequency control across all of that scale, which is aligned to the needs of an advertising marketplace that is increasingly focused on incremental reach.”

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EyeQ will simplify transactions and reporting across the company’s digital offering and will support a variety of transactional models depending on advertiser preference, including programmatic guaranteed and private marketplace. It will offer multiple lanes of activation, including:

  • content segments, allowing advertisers to verticalize spend under scaled content categories;
  • broad demos, allowing advertisers to maximize reach across all viewership and platforms;
  • strategic segments, allowing advertisers to leverage syndicated behavioral sets or custom audiences through ad platform Vantage; and
  • creative, allowing advertisers to customize immersive brand experiences for greater impact through integrations, custom creative, influencers, and live experiences.

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EyeQ will also introduce a new reporting infrastructure to provide real-time data and tactical campaign guidance for advertisers to track spending across platforms, according to the company. Additionally, EyeQ will offer a range of solutions to measure the effectiveness of campaigns, including ad quality metrics, brand lift, attribution and social sentiment.

ViacomCBS Announces Expanded CBS All Access Content Offering

ViacomCBS July 30 announced an expansion of CBS All Access, the subscription video-on-demand and live-streaming service, as the media giant plans to showcase its brands along with AVOD platform Pluto TV.

CBS All Access is adding more than 3,500 episodes, including series from BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Smithsonian Channel and more, further diversifying the range of content on the platform and expanding its appeal to a broader range of audiences.

All Access also announced plans for “Kamp Koral,” a new original children’s series premiering in 2021, and the first spinoff from one of ViacomCBS’s biggest global franchises, Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants.” As previously announced, All Access will also be the exclusive streaming home to The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run in early 2021.

The service also began rolling out a new user interface across all major device platforms with enhanced personalization and discovery features, including advanced recommendations, curated homepages, new content categories and central hubs for ViacomCBS’s brands. ViacomCBS will debut the full and rebranded service in early 2021.

“As the first network to market with a branded direct-to-consumer service more than five years ago, we have the advantage and experience of building it from the ground up, establishing distribution points across all major platforms,” Marc DeBevoise, chief digital officer of ViacomCBS and CEO of ViacomCBS Digital.

In the months to come, All Access will expand its content offering to include more than 30,000 episodes and movies, as well as develop exclusive originals from Paramount Pictures and Paramount Television Studios. The additional programming will join a catalog that spans every demographic and content category, from animation to sci-fi, comedy, drama, procedurals, reality and children’s programming.

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In addition, the new service will have live offerings, spanning national and local news, tentpole events and a critical mass of live sports — from golf to football to basketball, plus streaming rights for major sports properties, including pro soccer.

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ViacomCBS content added to All Access includes:

  • BET: All seasons of “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” “Hit the Floor,” plus all prior seasons of “Single Ladies” and more;
  • Comedy Central: All seasons of “Chappelle’s Show,” “Strangers with Candy,” six prior seasons of “Reno 911!” and more;
  • MTV: All seasons of “Laguna Beach” and “Snooki & Jwoww,” prior seasons of “Teen Mom 2,” seasons of “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation” and “MTV Floribama Shore,” as well as a selection from “The Challenge,” “Beavis and Butt-Head: The Mike Judge Collection” among others;
  • Nickelodeon: All seasons of “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” “Rugrats,” plus all prior seasons of “SpongeBob SquarePants” and more, in addition to seasons of “Danny Phantom,” “The Legend of Korra” and “Sam & Cat” that were previously available;
  • Smithsonian Channel: More than 60 episodes of “Aerial America,” seasons of “Air Disasters,” documentaries such as “The Day We Walked on the Moon,” “The Green Book: Guide to Freedom,” “MLK: The Assassination Tapes,” “Pocahontas: Beyond the Myth” and more;
  • TV Land and VH1: Programming like “Hot in Cleveland,” as well as prior seasons of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Love & Hip Hop,” among others;
  • Paramount Pictures: More films have been added to the service since May, including The Firm, Charlotte’s Web and Scary Movie, with more than 150 movies in total.

 

New content, including original series, launching on All Access next week and through the end of the year include:

  • “Star Trek: Lower Decks”: Premiering Thursday, Aug. 6;
  • “Big Brother Live Feeds”: Offering an in-depth, exclusive pass to watch all the action inside the Big Brother house all the time;
  • “Star Trek: Discovery” : Season three, premiering Oct. 15;
  • “The Untitled Richard Linklater Project”: premiering this fall;
  • “The Stand”: Limited event series, premiering late 2020.

New ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ Animated Series Announced for Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon and CBS Television Studios July 23 announced a new animated series called “Star Trek: Prodigy” to debut in 2021. The title and logo were revealed during an online Comic-Con@Home panel.

The CG-animated series will air exclusively on Nickelodeon and follows a group of lawless teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it to search for adventure, meaning and salvation.

The series is being developed by Emmy winners Kevin and Dan Hageman (“Trollhunters” and “Ninjago”) and overseen for Nickelodeon by Ramsey Naito, EVP of animation production and development at Nickelodeon.

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The series will be from CBS’s Eye Animation Productions, CBS Television Studios’ new animation arm; production company Secret Hideout, which oversees the “Trek” franchise; and Roddenberry Entertainment. Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, Katie Krentz, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth will serve as executive producers alongside Kevin and Dan Hageman. Aaron Baiers will serve as a co-executive producer.

“Star Trek: Prodigy” is being billed as the first “Trek” series aimed at younger audiences for Nickelodeon. It will be the third animated “Star Trek” series, following the 1973-74 FIlmation series featuring the cast of the original series, and “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” which arrives on the CBS All Access Streaming Service Aug. 6.

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Current CBS All Access live-action series include “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Star Trek: Picard.” Series in development for the streaming service include the Capt. Pike spinoff “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” as well as a series based on Section 31, the enigmatic Starfleet intelligence service.

First Season of ‘Star Trek: Picard’ on Disc Oct. 6

CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment will release Star Trek: Picard — Season One on Blu-ray and DVD Oct. 6.

Patrick Stewart reprises his role as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” on the CBS All Access original series. Set 30 years after “Next Generation,” the new show finds Picard’s retirement disturbed by a young woman (Isa Briones) who seeks his help after being attacked by Romulans as part of a conspiracy involving androids and artificial intelligence.

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‘Star Trek’ Beaming to Comic-Con@Home

CBS All Access and CBS Television Studios have announced a “Star Trek” Universe block of panel programming during Comic-Con@Home to take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 23.

Deadline senior editor Dominic Patten will moderate the panels with an introduction and discussion with Secret Hideout executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin.

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Back-to-back sessions will feature the cast of “Star Trek: Discovery” performing a table read of the second-season finale. Cast members slated to appear include Sonequa Martin-Green (Commander Michael Burnham), Michelle Yeoh (Philippa Georgiou), Doug Jones (Commander Saru), Anthony Rapp (Lt. Commander Paul Stamets), Mary Wiseman (Ensign Sylvia Tilly), Wilson Cruz (Dr. Hugh Culber), Mary Chieffo (L’Rell), Tig Notaro (Commander Jett Reno), Alan Van Sprang (Captain Leland), Jayne Brook (Admiral Katrina Cornwall), and the Discovery Bridge crew Emily Coutts (Lt. Detmer), Oyin Oladejo (Lt. J.G. Owosekun), Patrick Kwok-Choon (Lt. Rhys), Ronnie Rowe Jr. (Lt. J.G. Bryce), Sara Mitich (Lt. Nilsson), and upcoming “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” stars Anson Mount (Captain Christopher Pike), Rebecca Romijn (Number One) and Ethan Peck (Spock), alongside “Discovery” executive producer and co-showrunner Michelle Paradise and executive producer Olatunde Osunsanmi, who also directed the season-two finale. Act one of the table read will be shown at Comic-Con@Home followed by a brief cast Q&A.

Mike McMahan, creator, showrunner and executive producer of the upcoming animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” which premieres on CBS All Access Thursday, Aug. 6, will debut an exclusive extended first look from the premiere episode. McMahan also moderates a discussion with the Starfleet crew residing in the “lower decks” of the U.S.S. Cerritos, including Ensign Beckett Mariner, voiced by Tawny Newsome, Ensign Brad Boimler, voiced by Jack Quaid, Ensign Tendi, voiced by Noël Wells, and Ensign Rutherford, voiced by Eugene Cordero, as well as the ship’s bridge crew including Captain Carol Freeman, voiced by Dawnn Lewis, Commander Jack Ransom, voiced by Jerry O’Connell, Lieutenant Shaxs, voiced by Fred Tatasciore, and Doctor T’Ana, voiced by Gillian Vigman.

Finally, Patrick Stewart and the cast of “Star Trek: Picard” will discuss the show’s first season. Among those also slated to appear are Alison Pill (Dr. Agnes Jurati), Isa Briones (Dahj/Soji), Evan Evagora (Elnor), Michelle Hurd (Raffi Musiker), Santiago Cabrera (Cristobal Rios), Brent Spiner (Data/Dr. Soong), Jonathan Del Arco (Hugh), Jonathan Frakes (William Riker), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine) and Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi).

‘The Twilight Zone’ Top Rising Show, ‘Dark’ Top Binge on TV Time Charts

CBS All Access’s “The Twilight Zone” was the top rising show and Netflix’s “Dark” was the top binge on the TV Time charts for the week ended June 28.

The third and final season of “Dark” hit Netflix June 27. The series reaches its mind-bending conclusion, moving beyond the concept of space and time. Upon arrival in a new world, Jonas tries to make sense of what this rendition of Winden means for his own fate, while the ones left behind in the other world are left on a quest to break the loop that now not only bends time but also space. The series was also No. 3 on the rising show chart.

No. 2 on the binge chart was the ABC sitcom “Modern Family.” Taking the bronze was Netflix’s supernatural horror series “The Order,” season two of which hit screens June 18.

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Top rising show, CBS All Access’s “The Twilight Zone” is a reboot of the classic episodic series hosted and produced by Jordan Peele. It dropped a second season June 25.

DC Universe’s “Doom Patrol,” which also premiered on HBO Max, took the silver on the rising show chart. Based on the comic books, the series dropped the first episode of season two June 25.

TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the service. The weekly “Binge Report” ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the app in a given day. The “Shows on the Rise” chart is calculated by determining the week-over-week growth in episodes watched for a given program. The network displayed is the network where the show first aired (e.g. “Friends” on NBC).

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 Top Binge Shows Week Ended June 28 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Dark” (Netflix) — 3.46%
  2. “Modern Family” (ABC) — 2.70%
  3. “The Order” (Netflix) — 2.57%
  4. “13 Reasons Why” (Netflix) — 2.23%
  5. “Friends” (NBC) — 1.66%
  6. “The Office” (NBC) — 1.54%
  7. “Dynasty” (The CW) — 1.51%
  8. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC) — 1.28%
  9. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) — 1.23%
  10. “The 100” (The CW) — 1.22%

 

Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended June 28 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “The Twilight Zone” (CBS All Access) — 94.3%
  2. “Doom Patrol” (DC Universe/HBO Max) — 82.7%
  3. “Dark” (Netflix) — 81.3%
  4. “Floor Is Lava” (Netflix) — 49%
  5. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1) — 43.2%
  6. “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” (TVN) — 40.2%
  7. “Adventure Time” (Cartoon Network) — 15.8%
  8. “The Sinner” (USA) — 15.4%
  9. “Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma” (Tokyo MX) — 14.4%
  10. “Erkenci Kus” (Star TV) — 10.5%

Report: Netflix, Hulu Usage Declined as COVID-19 Quarantine Measures Relaxed

The re-opening of the economy from the coronavirus pandemic shutdown could be having an adverse effect on subscription streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu.

New data from Strategy Analytics finds the surge in users of SVOD services during the stay-at-home period was not always sustained once people were allowed to move around more freely.

The report, citing a nationwide survey of more than 4,000 U.S. adults in March, April and May found that 42% of respondents used Netflix in May, compared with 50% in April and 47% in March. User numbers of other services, including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+, followed a similar “pandemic peak” pattern.

The results suggest that significant numbers of users were binging on services in March and April but as restrictions were loosened in May the number of users declined as they were able to pursue more normal activities once again. This did not apply to all services, however: The number of users of both Apple TV+ and CBS All Access rose in both April and May.

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Surveys in the U.S. were fielded online March 21-22 (sample size of 1,444),  April 21-22 (1,220) and May 22-24 (1,270) and used a nationally representative sample of adults aged 18+.

“Ironically Netflix may have suffered through being the most popular SVOD service, since it appears to have attracted many new but ultimately temporary users during the pandemic,” Michael Goodman, director of TV and media strategies, and the report’s author, said in a statement.

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Goodman said Netflix Q2 fiscal results next month would be “watched with interest” to see whether the streaming behemoth’s strong Q1 performance is sustained into Q2.

“We still believe that Netflix numbers will exceed expectations overall during 2020, but now that the pandemic impact is waning, the company will face more-traditional challenges associated with customer retention, win-back and targeting the right content to appropriate interests and demographics,” Goodman said.

David Mercer, VP of media and intelligent home, said it’s not surprising that there was a spike in demand for video services as many people were stuck at home for several weeks. SVOD services, he said, have benefited to varying degrees, and must all now focus on retaining customers who joined recently as well as ensuring that their content development strategies are on track.

“This will prove challenging for many players, given the continuing crisis in video production as a result of COVID-19 restrictions,” Mercer said.

‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run’ Skipping Theaters, Going to PVOD, CBS All Access

In another blow to the theatrical window, Paramount Pictures is taking pending summer blockbuster release The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run off its theatrical slate and instead sending it direct-to-consumer via premium VOD in 2021, followed by SVOD platform CBS All Access.

The movie was originally slated for the Memorial Day weekend, but was pushed back to Aug. 7 when the coronavirus pandemic shuttered all movie theaters.

SpongeBob joins Warner Bros.’ Scoob! and Universal Pictures’ Trolls World Tour as big-budget theatrical releases bypassing the box office for distribution into home entertainment channels. Trolls generated $100 million in PVOD revenue in three weeks, while Warner has yet to release revenue data for Scoob! With the third theatrical “SpongeBob SquarePants” installment aimed at similar audiences to Scoob! and Trolls, Paramount’s decision to skip an uncertain theatrical debut makes fiscal sense.

“We are thrilled to have … a premier, first-run movie from one of ViacomCBS’s biggest brands, join CBS All Access’ expanding slate of franchise content from across ViacomCBS,” Marc DeBevoise, chief digital officer of ViacomCBS, and president and CEO of ViacomCBS Digital, said in a statement. “This launch will be perfectly timed with our continued expansion and planned rebranding of the service in early 2021, as we welcome SpongeBob and the gang from Bikini Bottom to the service in the biggest way possible.”

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In addition to Sponge on the Run, all prior seasons of “SpongeBob SquarePants” also will be available on the expanded All Access service soon.

It remains to be seen how exhibitors react to Paramount’s move. AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron said he understands studios going straight to the consumer when screens are shut down. He does not agree with studios releasing new movies in theaters concurrent with home entertainment.

Regardless, direct-to-consumer has big shoes to fill considering the first “SpongeBob” movie release generated $141 million at the global box office in 2004, while the 2015 sequel, Sponge Out of Water, earned $325.1 million.

CEO: ViacomCBS Looking to Supersize CBS All Access as Streaming Focus Skyrockets

In just a few years ViacomCBS has gone from owning a kidvid-centric subscription streaming video service (Noggin) to operating AVOD juggernaut Pluto TV, CBS All Access and Showtime OTT, among others.

Speaking from home on the Credit Suisse Virtual Communications Confab, CEO Bob Bakish said the media giant, which owns Paramount Pictures, would launch a reboot of All Access in 2021 with 15,000 hours of additional programming — featuring 200 local CBS TV stations, ad-supported “CBSN,” “Sports HQ” and “ET Live.”

All Access will soon stream the National Women’s Soccer League, which could be the first U.S. professional team sport to return from the COVID-19 break.

“We have a good position in the older segment with the current All Access product, but this really brings a lot of young audience to the table,” Bakish said. “We view streaming as a significant growth opportunity.”

CBS All Access and Showtime OTT topped 13.5 million combined subscribers through the most-recent fiscal period (March 31) — with significant signups since during the virus pandemic.

“We view that as a clear indicator of the growth potential of these products,” Bakish said.

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Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Bakish said the company has seen “robust consumption across all our platforms,” including linear TV news stations and “record” streaming on CBSN.

Separately, the executive said PGA Tour’s return to CBS Sports the weekend of June 11-14 at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Dallas/Ft. Worth generated a 50% uptick in TV viewership from the previous-year period. Bakish said the ratings were the highest for a golf event in 15 years.

Comedy Central has also extended “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” to one hour from the previous 30 minutes.