ViacomCBS go full-franchise for Paramount+
Future. ViacomCBS has recently struck massive deals with the creators of South Park, Star Trek, and Yellowstone to populate Paramount+ with a torrent of franchise-friendly titles. The entertainment conglomerate seems to be hoping that turning cable hits into streaming offerings may be the quickest way to become a top-5 streaming service.
What works, multiplied by 14
ViacomCBS has a new battle strategy for the streaming wars: multiply marquee franchises.
- The entertainment conglomerate inked a six-year, $900 million deal with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone to create six more seasons of the show and 14 (!) spinoff movies exclusively for Paramount+.
- South Park, which has been on the air for 24 years, is the most popular show on ViacomCBS’ Comedy Central platform.
- The conglomerate also signed a $160 million deal with writer/director/producer Alex Kurtzman to develop more Star Trek shows for the streamer.
- Kurtzman, who co-wrote two of the JJ Abrams-directed Star Trek films, produced five separate Star Trek shows, with two more on the way.
ViacomCBS additionally cut a nine-figure deal with Taylor Sheridan to create more shows set in the world of hit western Yellowstone, which is the most watched-cable show of 2020. The deal also calls for several more original shows from Sheridan because he’s his own franchise at this point.
Too much of a good thing?
With Netflix and Amazon commanding such a huge library of content, Paramount+’s strategy seems to make every dollar count toward giving audiences what they think they want. It’s similar to Disney+, which has doubled down on projects from content silos like Marvel and Lucasfilm.
But the question stands: Are Star Trek, South Park, and Yellowstone strong enough story universes to attract subscribers in meaningful numbers? ViacomCBS thinks so.
ViacomCBS counts 42 million subscribers between all of its services, which includes Paramount+, Showtime, and BET+. Its crown jewel, Paramount+ (which is actually just a rebranding of CBS All Access) entered the streaming wars relatively late and has been playing catch-up since as far as content output and financial investment is concerned. It hopes to hit between 65-75 million by 2024.