ViacomCBS used the Paramount+ Investor Day to announce that the media conglomerate is changing their name to Paramount Global.
Shari Redstone, Non-Executive Chair of the company’s Board of Directors:
“Paramount is an idea: A promise to be the best. That promise has always been at the center of what we aspired to build as the steward of more than a century of cinematic excellence, and with businesses and brands that have defined and redefined entertainment for generation after generation. We have made enormous progress, and I have never been more excited about the future of this company.”
Bob Bakish, President and Chief Executive Officer:
“Paramount’s iconic peak represents a rich history for our company as pioneers in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Today, as we embrace the Paramount name, we are pioneers of an exciting new future.”
The Paramount brand itself dates back to the early years of Hollywood when the Paramount Pictures Corporation was founded to release films made by Famous Players-Lasky and other studios. By 1927, Famous Players-Lasky became Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation. Paramount co-founder Adolph Zukor was ambitious and so because of the Publix Theatres chain, another name change came in 1930 to Paramount Publix Corporation. By 1935, the company would change their name again to Paramount Pictures Inc.
Thanks to the Paramount consent decree in 1948, the studio had no choice but to divest from their theaters. The theaters were spun off into United Paramount Theaters. As fate would have it, UPT would acquire the American Broadcasting Company and eventually change their name to American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres, Inc. (AB-PT). Eventually, they would revert back to the ABC name. Of course, we all know that Capital Cities acquired ABC before merging with The Walt Disney Co. But where was I? Oh, right.
We know the CBS brand for having the eye in the logo. Founded in 1927, they were acquired by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1995. In 1952, CBS created the CBS Television Film Sales division. It went through a variety of names before being rebranded as Viacom in 1970. Viacom would be spun off the following year. By the time that National Amusements acquired Viacom, the company had acquired both Showtime and MTV Networks. Come 1999, things would come full circle with the acquisition of CBS. In 2006, Viacom split itself into Viacom and the CBS Corporation. This didn’t last for long as they would merge back together in 2019 to form ViacomCBS. This brings us to today: the announcement that ViacomCBS is no more.
When ViacomCBS first started their streaming service, they went with CBS All-Access. It would later be rebranded to Paramount+. In many ways, it makes so much sense to brand the company as Paramount for visibility reasons. The CBS brand will, of course, live on through the TV network. When you look at all the media conglomerates, there is so much history. But when it comes to Hollywood, Paramount is among the oldest companies. Universal is older by a few days. The more you know!
This brings us to where we are today. The future is in streaming and digital. Theatrical will survive but mainly by way of the blockbuster tentpoles. In the years to come, streaming services will be the cash cows for studios. Theatrical will merely be a component necessary to promote their services. Look at Disney and how the company is utilizing Disney+. One might dislike how Pixar films are bypassing theatrical but it enables families to watch movies from home. Paramount+ is shy of 60 million subscribers so we’ll have to wait and see what happens. The streamer will likely build on brands such as Star Trek in order to drive their subscriber growth.
Adolph Zukor would be proud of what Paramount is doing. Bakish sees “a huge global opportunity in streaming, a much larger potential market than can be captured by linear TV and film alone.” He isn’t wrong. The company certainly has the value, too. They just need to focus on creating content in order to drive their growth.
Starting with their 2024 film slate, Paramount+ will be the exclusive U.S. streaming home for every Paramount Pictures release. Will it be 45 or 90 days after the theatrical run? We’ll just have to wait and see. Regardless, it’s smart of Paramount to draw subscribers this way. If ticket prices continue to increase, customers will grow selective with paying for movies at the box office.
Starting this summer in the U.S., Paramount+ subscribers will be able to upgrade their subscription to a bundle that includes the SHOWTIME service through two plans:
- $11.99 for the Paramount+ Essential tier and SHOWTIME
- $14.99 for the Paramount+ Premium tier and SHOWTIME
Some Blockbuster Announcements
- A QUIET PLACE – A Quiet Place Part III from John Krasinski, is confirmed for theatrical debut in 2025. As previously announced, the next installment of A Quiet Place from director Michael Sarnoski, based on an original idea from Krasinski, is set for release on September 22, 2023.
- SONIC THE HEDGEHOG – the first-ever original live-action Sonic series, featuring the character Knuckles, voiced by Idris Elba, is in development to debut on Paramount+, setting up the third film installment in the flagship franchise.
- SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS UNIVERSE – a further expansion of the SpongeBob universe is coming exclusively to Paramount+ with three brand-new movies based on the show’s original characters, with the first dropping in 2023. In addition, a fourth SpongeBob release from Nickelodeon Animation is currently in development for theatrical release.
- STAR TREK – the next theatrical film, with Matt Shakman directing and J.J. Abrams producing, will feature the original cast and new characters.
- TEEN WOLF – the first-ever original production from MTV Entertainment Studios and MGM’s Orion Television, Paramount+ will reunite the original Teen Wolf cast for an exclusive full-length movie. Tyler Posey, Holland Roden, Shelley Hennig and Crystal Reed are set to reprise their iconic roles alongside Orny Adams, Linden Ashby, JR Bourne, Seth Gilliam, Colton Haynes, Ryan Kelley, Melissa Ponzio and Dylan Sprayberry. Additional names to be announced.
- TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES – a new era of TMNT-mania takes over in 2023 with a new animated take on the Turtles coming to theaters, produced by Point Grey Pictures’ Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and directed by Jeff Rowe. Nickelodeon Animation will fast follow that film with a series of exclusive movies for Paramount+ beginning in 2023, each centering on one of the property’s storied villains in never-before-told tales.
- TRANSFORMERS – the next chapter begins with Transformers: Rise of the Beasts in 2023, where director Steven Caple Jr. and star Anthony Ramos, will lead the first of three film installments of the iconic Hasbro property. Additionally, the previously announced Untitled Animated Transformers film, a Paramount/eOne co-production with Josh Cooley attached to direct, will debut in theaters on July 19, 2024.