Paramount+ promises a ‘Godfather’ streaming series and a ‘Frasier’ reboot.

Paramount+ promises a ‘Godfather’ streaming series and a ‘Frasier’ reboot.

Paramount+ promises a ‘Godfather’ streaming series and a ‘Frasier’ reboot.

Paramount+ promises a ‘Godfather’ streaming series and a ‘Frasier’ reboot.

Is a series based on the making of “The Godfather,” along with revivals of “Frasier” and “Inside Amy Schumer,” enough to reignite interest in a seven-year-old streaming service?

ViacomCBS executives are hoping so.

On Wednesday, the company staged a three-hour presentation previewing its newly named streaming platform, Paramount+, which will replace CBS All Access on March 4.

“This is a big day, a new day, a new beginning,” Shari Redstone, the chair of ViacomCBS, said from the Paramount lot in Los Angeles in the virtual event.

The streaming service will have an advantage in that it already has several million subscribers. But Paramount+ hits a mature market that is crowded with formidable competitors: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max, Peacock, Discovery+ and Apple TV+.

The company made a slew of announcements promising new content, including a weekly show from Trevor Noah, the host of “The Daily Show” on ViacomCBS’s Comedy Central network; a “Ray Donovan” film; and new installments of “A Quiet Place” and “Mission: Impossible,” movie sequels that will start streaming on the service 45 days after their theatrical releases.

Kelsey Grammer will bring back Dr. Frasier Crane for the “Frasier” revival, and the company said the sketch series “Inside Amy Schumer,” off the air since 2016, would have five specials. There will also be a “Beavis and Butt-Head” movie and a revival of the animated series “Rugrats.”

“We know how to make hits,” said Bob Bakish, the chief executive of ViacomCBS. “Every streaming service has had a monster hit from one of our studios.”

The strategy of licensing its shows and films, however, is one reason that ViacomCBS is missing an awful lot from its library. It has spent the better part of two years playing the role of a so-called arms dealer, selling material to other services.

The company sold the back library of “South Park” to HBO Max for a reported $500 million. Popular series like “Jack Ryan,” produced by Paramount, have gone to Amazon. Paramount also sold the highly anticipated “Coming 2 America” sequel to Amazon for a reported $125 million last year. That film, starring Eddie Murphy, will go online the day after Paramount+ makes its debut next week.

ViacomCBS executives noted one thing that set its platform apart from Disney+ and Netflix: Its emphasis on live sports and news. National Football League games will appear on Paramount+, as will some of its news programs, including “60 Minutes+,” a spinoff of the long-running television newsmagazine with younger correspondents who recently appeared on “60 in 6,” a short-lived series from the short-lived streaming app Quibi.

A version of Paramount+ without commercials will cost $10 a month, the same price for a similar CBS All Access plan. The package with ads will be $5 a month, slightly cheaper than the current $6 tier for CBS All Access.

The company did not do itself any favors in the early going of Wednesday’s event: A streaming event touting its prowess in streaming was unexpectedly delayed by 32 minutes. (A company representative said the delay was “due to last-minute registrations.”) Investors stared at a blue screen that said little more than “ViacomCBS Streaming Event, 4:15 p.m. ET,” even as the clock ticked. Rival companies — including Disney, Apple and Discovery — have staged similar events over the last two years with a military precision.

ViacomCBS said CBS All Access and Showtime’s stand-alone streaming service had a combined 19.2 million domestic subscribers, having added a little more than a million customers over the last three months. The services have nearly 30 million global subscribers, a number that company executives told investors on Wednesday would balloon to between 65 million and 75 million by 2024.

The company has not publicly said how many subscribers are for CBS All Access alone. Showtime’s streaming service will remain separate from Paramount+.




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