CBS and Viacom merger rumors are taking on the look of legitimacy as the two companies, which used to be one, look like they are rekindling the relationship. A recent piece in the Wallstreet Journal spoke to the idea that the companies may benefit from a merger in the age of mega-mergers like AT&T and Time Warner.
If CBS and Viacom merged it could have far-reaching effects on a number of fronts that could impact streaming.
CBS All Access
CBS built a streaming service around the idea of access to its current lineup of shows, CBS owned properties from the past and a few well-placed original programs specifically Star Trek based properties, Discover and the upcoming Picard show. Possibly its most marketable aspect is the option to watch local CBS channels live in a number of markets. Overall the service has seen decent growth considering its limited catalog. If Viacom comes into the fold CBS All Access could substantially change its model. It could add another tier of programming around an expanded group of channels with live and on-demand programming. While it would hardly be the same as Hulu or Sling TV it could present a strong option.
Premium channel, Showtime is owned by CBS already. So the impact of the merger would be more likely seen with Viacom’s new property, PlutoTV. The company recently launched content channels on PlutoTV, a free ad-supported platform. If synergy is achieved then maybe viewers could begin to get access to broadcast friendly Showtime content via the service. Maybe short segments from Inside the NFL in its sports content and other things. If CBS All-Access did, in fact, decide to integrate new properties into a skinny bundle, maybe there would also be a discounted showtime offering in the mix or simply included in the way that Warner included HBO in its new DirecTV Now packages.
Viacom has faced a number of carriage issues over the past few years losing channel listings on major services and virtual MVPDs. Well, things change when CBS enters into the conversation. Want to carry CBS on your service? You must include…….
This would have a very positive effect on the cable channels which still have wide audiences. Having a chance to leverage viewers via an expanded CBS All-Access could be a boon to a proud collection of networks that include Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central. If CBS is forward thinking on this it could integrate access to TV everywhere channels with CBS-All Access as a way to encourage the service.
PlutoTV has made a giant splash in the streaming space during the past 5 years. What started out as a collection of curated YouTube content grew to become a distribution platform with numerous independent deals with major distributors and a goto app for cord cutters and entertainment fans alike. Its purchase by Viacom has already shown a windfall for the service as it has added multiple branded offering via both channels and on-demand offerings. If the service can become a place to watch episodes of classic TV or movies from CBS’s catalog it would be an all-new revenue source for CBS and PlutoTV. The service represents an important segment of the future of streaming. Freemium content.