ViacomCBS has rebranded itself as Paramount Global (to be known as Paramount) as the company set out new growth plans and an expansive slate of new international content for its streaming service Paramount+.
New content headed to the service includes its first UK commissions and spin-offs from popular franchises including NCIS, Yellowstone, The Shore, as well as a Sexy Beast prequel and new Star Trek and Transformers movies.
“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,” explained company president and CEO Bob Bakish, speaking at an investor event yesterday. The name change will take effect today, 16 February.
As part of its global expansion, Paramount+ is to launch in France later this year, inking a long-term strategic partnership, that will see the service debut as an exclusive bundle with the Canal+ Group, that gives subscribers access. Paramount+ will also be made available DTC in the French market.
“We’re continuing to leverage our global footprint and long-standing relationships to expand Paramount+ into new markets with enormous potential quickly and economically,” commented Tom Ryan, president and CEO of streaming.
New goals & offering
ViacomCBS (now Paramount) is also raising its global streaming subscriber goal from 65-75 million to more than 100 million subscribers by the end of 2024, as well as its DTC revenue target for that year from $6n to $9bn.
This comes as Paramount+ helped to drive more than 56 million total global streaming subscribers and 84% revenue growth in the company’s DTC segment in 2021.
“In just one year, Paramount+ has outperformed all expectations,” said Naveen Chopra, EVP and CFO. “Our powerful content, marketing and distribution engines drove explosive growth as further proof of our ability to establish a sustainable, large scale streaming business with a differentiated global playbook.”
The company also revealed that beginning this summer, US Paramount+ subscribers will be able to upgrade their subscription to a bundle that includes Showtime – with the service also remaining available as a standalone OTT subscription.
International drama commissions
As part of its huge boost to original content, Paramount+ announced a slew of shows, a mixture of new titles and recommissions, which form part of the streamer’s plans to greenlight 50 new international scripted originals in 2022.
Among them are the streamer’s first two UK drama commissions, including A Gentleman In Moscow. Co-produced by VIS and eOne, the series is based on the novel by Amor Towles, and tells the story of Count Rostov who, in 1922, finds himself stuck in Moscow and on the wrong side of history. The Communist Party agrees to let him live but he is never allowed to set foot outside the Metropole Hotel until the day he dies.
Sexy Beast, meanwhile, is a prequel series to the cult classic film of the same name. Produced by Chapter One, in association with VIS, with Michael Caleo (The Sopranos) attached as showrunner, the series follows Gal Dove and Don Logan as they descend into the seductive madness of the London criminal world during the vibrant and volatile 1990s.
Also in the works is Simon Beckett’s The Chemistry Of Death, a German production from Nadcon Film and Cuba Pictures, in association with VIS. The psychological crime series is based on Simon Beckett’s bestselling novels following forensic anthropologist Dr. David Hunter
Paramount+ has also recommissioned two Mexican series Los Enviados (The Envoys) and Cecilia for second seasons, as well as for the upcoming sci-fi series Halo and Super Pumped, while season seven of Billions was ordered for Showtime.
Furthermore, the streamer also confirmed the first co-production to come from its partnership with South Korea’s CJ ENM last year. Yonder is a sci-fi drama set in the year 2032, which tells the story of a man who receives a message from his deceased wife.
The series is presented by TVING, CJ ENM’s streaming platform and ViacomCBS, produced by Doodoong Pictures and CJ ENM, and directed by Lee Joon-ik. It will be available on TVING in Korea later this year and on Paramount+ in Latin America, Canada, Australia, as well as in the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria upon launch.
Paramount+ Australia and Network 10 have also commissioned a new Seal Team spin-off film, from the series creative team of David Boreanaz, Christopher Chulack and Spencer Hudnut. which will launch on the service in the US.
CBS Studios will also expand the popular NCIS franchise into Australia with its first international edition – NCIS: Sydney. The series, which is slated for 2023, will feature local stories with Australian actors and producers and will be filmed in the titular harbour city. NCIS: Los Angeles creator Shane Brennan is attached to the project.
“These two projects represent two new ways we are expanding our studio footprint while supporting the company’s mission to drive streaming,” said George Cheeks, president and CEO of CBS and CCO for news and sports at Paramount+. “We have the producing roster, production infrastructure and deep library to be creative and nimble with franchises and other IP for both domestic and international audiences.”
Away from Australia, the streamer has also ordered a new series set in the Yellowstone universe, with 1932, which will follow a new generation of Duttons during the time of western expansion, Prohibition and the Great Depression. The series will be produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and 101 Studios.
These new titles join a growing roster of previously announced scripted series, including Fatal Attraction, Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, Rabbit Hole and The Offer.
On the unscripted front, Paramount+ has commissioned All Star Shore, a competition docu-series that will feature 14 of reality TV’s most iconic stars from around the world and television’s biggest series as they come together for a vacation at the ultimate Shore house in Gran Canaria, Spain, to battle it out for the grand prize and global bragging rights.
Tattoo competition series Ink Master will also launch new episodes on Paramount+ later this year, while The Challenge: War of the Worlds will see winners from four new Challenge series advance to the first-ever globally connected tournament and battle for the title of Challenge World Champion.
The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans is meanwhile the third installment of the unscripted series, which will reunite original The Real World: New Orleans cast members David “Tokyo” Broom, Melissa Howard, Jamie Murray, Danny Roberts, Matt Smith, Julie Stoffer and Kelley Wolf in “The Big Easy.”
In addition, the original season of The Real World: New Orleans will be available to stream on Paramount+ beginning in April.
Seven upcoming iterations of The Shore franchise will also launch on Paramount+, including Argentina Shore, Colombia Shore and Australian Shore, with more cities to be announced.
Reality shows to have been renewed for Paramount+ include Queen of the Universe, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars and The Challenge: All Stars.
Animation and movie announcements
Paramount+ is also doubling down on adult animation with South Park moving to the streamer as its exclusive international home later this year and ahead of the launch of its 27th season in 2024, while the full show library will join the service in the US in 2025.
The full Beavis And Butt-Head library is also moving to the service, alongside the previously announced all-new series and upcoming film Beavis and Butt-Head do the Universe.
In children’s content, Paramount+ is in development on a live-action Sonic The Hedgehog series, with Idris Elba attached to voice the character of Knuckles, while a live-action Dora The Explorer series is also in the works, inspired by the tone of the 2019 feature Dora And The Lost City Of Gold.
In film, the streamer announced new franchise expansions headed to Paramount +, including A Quiet Place Part III, due for a 22 September 2023 release; a Star Trek movie from Matt Shakman and JJ Abrams, with the original cast and new characters and three brand-new SpongeBob SquarePants-related movies based on the show’s original characters, with the first dropping in 2023.
Also unveiled were a Teen Wolf movie, reuniting the original cast; a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film and Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, the first in a new trilogy.