CBS All Access is toast: Here comes ViacomCBS

CBS All Access
(Image credit: CBS All Access)

Pretty soon, it's just going to be simpler to name the media conglomerates that don't have a subscription streaming service.

ViacomCBS, the merged company that combines cable giant Viacom with broadcaster CBS, plans to enter the subscription streaming service field, according to a report from CNBC. The service would join the ranks of existing streaming services from (takes deep breath) Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Hulu and ESPN, not to mention upcoming services from Comcast's NBCUniversal and AT&T's WarnerMedia.

What will the ViacomCBS service include?

According to CNBC's sources, the ViacomCBS streaming effort will simply take the existing CBS All Access offering, and augment it with Viacom's cable holdings. Currently starting at $5.99 a month, with a commercial-free version for $9.99, CBS All Access features CBS's current prime time programs, live sports coverage include NFL and college football games and a handful of original programs like Star Trek: Picard.

Under the ViacomCBS banner, though, CBS All Access would grow to include much, much more. Among the cable programming that could be added to the mix are shows from Pluto TV, Nickelodeon, BET, MTV and Comedy Central. The service will reportedly dip into the Viacom-owned of Paramount Pictures movies, which includes the Godfather and Indiana Jones films in addition to more than 3,000 other titles.

What will ViacomCBS service cost?

The report suggests that a ViacomCBS service would continue to come in two tiers — one with ads and one without. Access to Showtime would reportedly be part of the premium tier.

There's no official name for the service and no price, though sources told CNBC the entry-level price will likely be below $10 a month.

ViacomCBS vs Peacock vs HBO Max

What ViacomCBS is cooking up sounds a lot like NBC's Peacock. That service, launching this April, comes in a free, ad-supported tier, as well as $4.99 and $9.99 monthly subscriptions. Peacock will feature NBC shows, original programming and movies from the likes of Universal and Lionsgate.

A month after Peacock launches, HBO Max arrives. The $14.99-a-month services includes HBO as well as programming from the libraries of WarnerMedia cable channels and the Warner Bros. film studio. Original programming is also on tap there, too.

Is there room for yet another streaming service?

What this means is that unless ViacomCBS launches quickly, it's running the risk of crowded out by other soon-to-launch services, which themselves are already competing with established players like Netflix, Amazon and Disney.

Consumers may also find their head spinning with all those streaming services to choose from. Not only will would-be viewers have to decide which streaming services are worth paying for, they'll also have to track down which services will have an exclusive hold on their favorite shows and movies.

It's confusing enough to almost make one wish for the heyday of cable TV when you only had one monthly fee to pay. Almost.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.