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ViacomCBS goes all in on streaming, unveils projects as Paramount+ tops 32m subs

The South Park library will move exclusively to Paramount+ in 2025

Streamer Paramount+ reached 32.8 million subscribers globally at the end of the fourth quarter, an increase of seven million on the previous period, as parent ViacomCBS lifted the lid on a slew of franchise-extending projects.

ViacomCBS, which announced on Tuesday it will change its corporate name to Paramount Global, said it now has 56 million paid subscribers across Paramount+, Showtime and BET.

The group now predicts it will have more than 100 million subscribers by 2024, a significant increase on its initial projection of between 65 million and 75 million. In its AVoD business, the Pluto TV channel’s monthly active users rose by 10 million to 64 million in Q4.

During an investor presentation, ViacomCBS unveiled dozens of new properties and franchise extensions that will air in the years ahead, as well as outlining plans to expand Paramount+ into new markets. By 2024, ViacomCBS said its investment in streaming content will hit around US$6bn a year, up from US$2.2bn last year.

It also unveiled an initial slate of six international green lights as part of a plan to commission a total of 50 international scripted originals in 2022.

On the drama front in the US, Paramount+ ordered new episodes of Yellowstone prequel series 1883, which ViacomCBS said is its most-watched title on a global basis. It also commissioned a second Yellowstone prequel, 1932, which it said follows “a new generation of Duttons during the time of western expansion, Prohibition and the Great Depression.”

All the projects emanating from the Yellowstone universe are created by Taylor Sheridan, who has an overall deal with ViacomCBS and MTV Entertainment Group.

ViacomCBS outlined plans to drastically expand its pipeline of international scripted content, including Yonder, the first series produced through its partnership with South Korea’s CJ ENM.

Yonder is the first project produced under ViacomCBS’s pact with CJ ENM

Set in 2032, the story unfolds in an unknown space designed for the dead to be able to live on by uploading memories from their lives. In Korea, the series will debut on CJ ENM-owned streamer TVing later this year, while it will it will join Paramount+ in Latin America, Canada and Australia.

Paramount+ has also commissioned a pair of UK series: A Gentleman in Moscow, coproduced by Viacom International Studios (VIS) and Entertainment One, about a man who finds himself in the city and on the wrong side of history; and Sexy Beast, produced by Chapter One in association with VIS, a prequel series based on the cult film of the same name.

Also on the international front, Paramount+ ordered German original series Simon Beckett’s The Chemistry of Death. The psychological crime show is based on British journalist and author Beckett’s bestselling novels, which follow a forensic anthropologist. Nadcon Film and Cuba Pictures are producing, in association with VIS, while Sukey Venables Fisher is writing and Richard R Clark directing.

Additionally, Paramount+ gave season-two renewals to a pair of Mexican originals: Los Enviados and Cecilia.

The international green lights come as ViacomCBS ramps up Paramount+’s global roll-out. The service has so far launched in the US, Canada, Latin America, the Nordics and Australia. Later in the year it will launch in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and South Korea. By year’s end Paramount+ will be live in 48 markets, according to ViacomCBS.

On Tuesday, ViacomCBS announced the SVoD service will expand into France later this year via a deal with Canal+ Group. Under the long-term strategic partnership, Paramount+ will be available to all Canal+ Ciné Séries subscribers and include content from ViacomCBS brands such as Showtime, Paramount Pictures, MTV, Nickelodeon and CBS Studios.

South Park, one of the most enduring and lucrative properties in the ViacomCBS library, will return exclusively to Paramount+ in the coming years. Internationally, all 300 episodes of the series will become available exclusively on Paramount+ before the end of the year.

In the US, where WarnerMedia licensed the rights under a five-year deal that began in 2020, the entire South Park library will move exclusively to Paramount+ in 2025.

Billions has been renewed for a seventh season

ViacomCBS is also preparing new movies and series based on some of its biggest animated franchises, including Sonic the Hedgehog, SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The first live-action Sonic series is in development and destined for Paramount+. Idris Elba has been confirmed as the voice of the character Knuckles.

A new animated instalment of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will arrive in theatres next year, followed by a series of exclusive movies for Paramount+, with each set to follow one of the franchise’s villains.

In addition, three animated films based on original characters from SpongeBob SquarePants are heading to Paramount+, with the first scheduled to launch next year.

Paramount+ is also in development on a live-action series based on preschool animated show Dora the Explorer. The new iteration will be inspired by the “tone” of Paramount Pictures’ 2019 theatrical release Dora & the Lost City of Gold, said ViacomCBS, and will target tweens.

On the unscripted front, ViacomCBS handed green lights to The Challenge: War of the Worlds, The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans, All Star Shore and new episodes of Ink Master. In addition, seven new iterations of the Shore franchise, including Argentina Shore, Colombia Shore and Australian Shore, will launch on Paramount+ around the world.

Paramount+ has also renewed Queen of the Universe, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars and The Challenge: All Stars, and international factual titles Acapulco Shore, Geordie Shore: Return of the OGs and Rio Shore.

Elsewhere, the company gave an early season two renewal to the TV adaptation of popular gaming franchise Halo and renewed Billions for a seventh season.


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