ViacomCBS unveils rebranding, Q4 earnings and new unscripted slate

ViacomCBS has unveiled a new name and a line-up of new titles, including its first globally connected reality competition series, along with news of expansion plans for the Paramount+ platform. ViacomCBS ...
February 15, 2022

ViacomCBS has unveiled a new name and a line-up of new titles, including its first globally connected reality competition series, along with news of expansion plans for the Paramount+ platform.

ViacomCBS will rebrand as Paramount Global effective Wednesday (Feb. 16), bringing its portfolio under a new parent company name. The company announced the news, along with its Q4 earnings, on Tuesday (Feb. 15).

“Paramount is an idea: a promise to be the best,” said Shari Redstone, non-executive chair of the company’s board of directors, in a news release.

“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.”

New Paramount+ unscripted content slate

Headlining the programming and content announcement for Paramount+ this week is The Challenge: War of the Worlds, a global reality competition series. The announcement came from Chris McCarthy, chief content officer of unscripted entertainment and adult animation for Paramount+, during a ViacomCBS investors event.

Produced by MTV Entertainment Studios, The Challenge: War of the Worlds takes winners of the expanding Challenge competition series and pits them against one another in a global tournament to declare the first Challenge world champion.

The new show will spin out of the growing Challenge franchise, which is launching several new series across broadcast and cable channels. The new series that will be available to stream on Paramount+ in their respective markets are The Challenge: CBS (w/t), an all-star competition between past competitors that will also be broadcast on the CBS linear network this summer; The Challenge: Argentina (Telefe); The Challenge: Australia (Network 10); and The Challenge: UK (Channel 5).

Another new series order to Paramount+ is All Star Shore, a competition-docuseries hybrid featuring 14 stars from Jersey Shore Family Vacation, Love is Blind, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Geordie Shore, Acapulco Shore and Bachelor in Paradise, among other formats, as they vacation in the ultimate Shore house in Gran Canaria, Spain, for a shot at the grand prize and global bragging rights.

In addition to a round of series renewals, Paramount+ also announced that the long-running tattoo competition series Ink Master will premiere on the streaming service in global markets later this year.

RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, the singing competition Queen of the Universe, The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans and The Challenge All Stars, as well as new seasons of Acapulco Shore, Rio Shore and Geordie Shore: Return of the OGs are among the renewals announced for Paramount+.

Additionally, seven new localized versions of the Shore franchise will launch on Paramount+ around the world, including Argentina Shore, Colombia Shore and Australia Shore, with more cities to be announced.

“MTV created reality TV with the launch of The Real World in 1992. Building on that success, we’ve seen a huge demand on Paramount+ for more reality content,” McCarthy said. “As the global expansion of the streaming service continues to accelerate, we’re doubling down on our hit unscripted franchises, which have been a key driver in fueling the service’s growth.”

Paramount+ expansion

Along with the company’s name change, Parmaount also detailed plans to accelerate the momentum of its streaming platform Paramount+ with new content, product offerings and international expansion.

Paramount+ will debut in France this year as part of an exclusive bundle with Canal+ Group. The streamer will also be available on an a la carte and direct-to-consumer basis in France.

By the end of this year, Paramount will have streaming services available in more than 60 markets across the UK, Latin America, Canada, Australia, South Korea, the Caribbean and all major European markets. The company plans to grow further in Asia, Africa and the Middle East in 2023.

Paramount also announced plans that U.S. Paramount+ subscribers will soon be able to upgrade their subscription to a bundle that includes the Showtime service. Showtime will still remain available as a standalone premium OTT subscription service and through third-party streaming platforms.

Q4 earnings results

In the company’s Q4 earnings report, Paramount reported its revenue increased 16% year-over-year, with $8 billion in revenue. The company also reported adding a record 9.4 million global streaming subscribers this quarter to hit 56 million total subscribers.

Driven by strong subscription and advertising results, the company’s quarterly global streaming revenue grew 48% year-over-year. It also totaled 84% year-over-year growth in its streaming subscription revenue.

New subscribers were overwhelmingly led by Paramount+ and its 7.3 million additions, the company stated. Its record sign-ups were driven by scripted content like Mayor of Kingstown and South Park: Post Covid, as well as live events and the NFL. Showtime OTT also saw a record quarter of sign-ups and engagement, due to new, popular original scripted series.

SkyShowtime, the joint streaming venture from ViacomCBS and Comcast, has plans to launch in more than 20 European markets encompassing 90 million homes later this year, Paramount announced.

Advertising revenue grew just 1% in Q4 for Paramount, year-over-year. It was driven by improved pricing, but offset by lower political advertising and lower linear impressions.

With files from Andrew Jeffrey.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.