Following the closing bell on Wall Street, the merged entity's leadership, called ViacomCBS, held a conference call with the investment press announcing the benefits of the CBS-Viacom merger announced the day before. In the company jargon mixed some interesting discussions with Star Trek fans.
Use of Star Trek
As mentioned in the announcement, the TV and film rights for Star Trek and Mission: Impossible were cited as reasons for the merger of CBS and Viacom. The new CEO of ViacomCBS, Bob Bakish, explained this in his investment press discussion when he proposed the combined library of the newly merged company:
We will have one of the largest libraries for iconic intellectual property, including more than 140,000 premium libraries. Television episodes and over 3,600 movie titles. Specifically, this library brings together the television and film rights of some of our most popular franchises, including Star Trek and Mission: Impossible. We see significant potential in making better use of these and other properties across platforms and assets such as film, television, live events, leisure and consumer goods.
TrekMovie is not the only branch that notes the reunion of Star Hike. This afternoon, Hollywood Trade Deadline released a post-merger announcement titled, "Star Trek Will Become a New Wonder When CBS and Viacom Bring the Franchise Under a Fleet," which noted Bakish's mention of Trek's leverage. Deadline also offers this analysis:
The new cross-platform possibilities of enterprise optimization could mean that Trek could soon make a big leap forward in its efforts, much as in the 1980s and 1990s, when Star Wars saw a blockbuster movie franchise deviated from the ubiquitous wall-to-wall cultural power that it represents today. As we all know, money has a chance to improve an offer. With that in mind, the Star Trek Brain Trust has already acknowledged that the animation boost is seen as a way to enhance the brand's toy business and win children's hearts, minds and pocket money – another side owned by one Disney's site, which Lucasfilm used with masterly effect to attract fans for characters that were not included in the original film trilogy.
Viacom content may soon be available on All Access.
A beneficiary of the merger could be the subscription streaming services provided by CBS, including CBS All Access, home of Star Trek: Discovery and other forthcoming Star Trek shows. During the same call, CBS CEO Joseph Ianniello discussed how the deal supports the plans to grow these services:
This deal allows us to share our premium content and brands to drive growth of Nickelodeon, BET content. MTV and Comedy Central, CBS All Access, Paramount Movies for Showtime.
Adding content from these libraries can significantly increase the available content for CBS All Access. "Especially considering the competition from new services from Disney, NBC Universal and Warner Media. The Nickelodeon content could be especially important when dealing with Disney +. Just last week, CBS announced that they would expand CBS All Access with a new deal with DHX Media for children's content, including 1,000 episodes of library content and new episodes of Danger Mouse and Cloudy with a chance of would contain meatballs . Ianniello noted that the merger puts them in a whole new league: "We talked to about 1,000 hours of children's programming, and now we have the best kids brand in the world."
There's a Star Trek connection to all of that because CBS is developing an animated Kid Trek cartoon for Nickelodeon. Given what Ianniello has discussed today, there's a good chance that the upcoming Star Trek animation show for Nickelodeon will also land on All Access.
Bakish also notes that the content of the CBS library is also likely to be postponed Pluto TV, the free ad-supported streaming service Viacom, was purchased earlier this year. The service has no original programming. However, Viacom has already begun using the platform with library content from its MTV and Comedy Central libraries. It's possible that the back catalog of the classic Star Trek shows will land on Pluto as well.
While the announcement said that the merger is expected to be completed by the end of the year, Bakish pointed to some of this new use of content back and forth could start earlier and say:
There's nothing that prevents us from doing so to open up this opportunity in the near future. It is clear that we will build on it over time, but there are some low-hanging fruits that we will pick soon.
This is an evolving story. Keep up to date with all updates on TrekMovie.com.