Few weeks ago, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish declared a new international streaming service, replacing CBS All Access, to be launched in the first phase in Australia, Latin America and the Nordics in 2021. It would be the second streaming platform under ViacomCBS umbrella, after Pluto TV, which was acquired in 2019 for $340 million.
Speaking at APOS ViacomCBS Networks International president & CEO David Lynn hinted at expanding it in Asia. He stated, “Asia is a significant territory, the markets there are extremely advanced in OTT and streaming. However, we have not decided on the markets. What differentiates us is the free play we have through Pluto and the paid one through the upcoming streamer we are planning. Having two products will allow us the flexibility to decide what plays out where. Indonesia is an advertising- based market whereas Japan is subscriber-oriented. What we know is that the partnerships we have had with mobile in those regions are going to be important, particularly around 5G, and we can work with the operators to market that service.”
Additionally, he also mentioned noticing opportunities in Asia for Noggin, the preschool kids services which have been launched internationally on Amazon and Apple channels.
Lynn also revealed that the India market with VOOT and VOOT Select will not be impacted by the new SVOD rollout. “Viacom-CBS has a very material successful business in Viacom18 that has been built out over more than a decade. That business-like several other businesses has had the impact of Covid-19, but we are beginning to move past that. We are seeing our production ramp-up again, we are seeing viewership follow the new production and we are seeing the ad markets recovering,” mentioned he.
Further explaining the strategy for India, Lynn added, “It is similar to the international streaming strategy. We have a very successful leading free streaming service in VOOT, along with a paid premium service – VOOT Select, which has got off to a significant start. The core business is very strong, the move into streaming presents a huge opportunity and is off to a successful start, and not the least because of our partnership with Reliance and their ownership of Jio which is an incredible driver of streaming.”
However, Lynn did not even mention once about the impending merger between Sony and Viacom18. He noted that the new global SVOD OTT service will house premium deals with Showtime, CBS All Access, content from Paramount Pictures, MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. “It is going to be a supersized streaming service, with massive content from ViacomCBS.”
Lynn also revealed 30 countries that ViacomCBS has operations in, the assets, and relationships, the local content will be leveraged to push the super-sized streaming service.