Question: is that above publicity photo Project Blue Book or was it the series Manhattan? Who will ever know for sure…
More detail has emerged about the upcoming ViacomCBS streaming service. Plans have been scuttled for a service that will replace CBS All Access. Rather the company plans to just build upon the existing CBS All Access platform.
Today CBS All Access has been beefed up with 100 movies from the Paramount library with 1000 titles expected to be added - these are all well-known films, like the Mission: Impossible franchise, The Godfather, etc.
Soon the streaming service will have 30,000 episodes of shows from Viacom’s biggest networks, including Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, and the Smithsonian Channel.
Over the US Summer, the CBS All Access service will be rebranded with an additional international push. It seems almost certain that Australia will quickly get the rebranded service with 10 All Access already operating in the country. The UK seems like a likely candidate to get the new service quickly too with the company owning Channel 5.
Despite comments about leveraging ViacomCBS’ “House of brands”, not mentioned as a content supply channel for the rebranded streaming platform is Showtime. At a time with every large media player scaling up streaming services to compete with Netflix, bringing all of their heavy hitting channels under the one branded platform, it is kind of strange to think ViacomCBS might operate both the CBS All Access (by another name) platform AND Showtime.
Spotify is now experimenting with video podcasts. There are already a lot of podcasters who publish video of their podcasts to YouTube. This would operate more like YouTube Premium, which allows subscribers to turn off their screen and just listen to the audio.
Tests are currently underway, with podcast Zane and Heath: Unfiltered offering video on the three most recent podcasts.
Videos will sync with the audio feed and keep playing even if listeners lock their phones, and ad spots will still play but with the video showing up as a single, static shot. These videos will also only be uploaded in the language podcasters record, so Spotify won’t be translating them for a global audience. The feature is available on the desktop and mobile Spotify apps.
I’m already incredibly bullish on Spotify as a podcasting platform and this is a great move going forward. As The Verge notes in its article, The Ringer, newly-owned by Spotify, already produces video versions of several of its podcasts - one would expect to see those podcasts available very soon on the platform. Other podcast producers are likely to follow suit.
Very quickly, Spotify has become a market leader in podcasts. It varies country to country, but as many people use Spotify for podcasts as Apple Podcasts (the previous dominant podcast app). So, if Spotify are rolling this functionality out, it will have an impact on podcasting.
What impacts will this have on podcasts?
Well, if it takes off, it disrupts podcasts as an evolution of radio. How many NPR/ABC/BBC radio hosts are naturals in front of the camera? Soon podcasting is likely to require audio and video presentation skills.
Keep an eye on how it impacts on shows being made for YouTube, Facebook Watch, and Quibi. Will Spotify prove to be a more lucrative platform? And if Spotify starts setting the trend for streaming, replacing YouTube, how does that change the shape and form of content we’ll see. After all, the shows you see on Facebook Watch and Quibi just emulate the style that works on YouTube.
Suddenly audio is of equal value to the visuals. Expect less text on screen. And for Quibi - it was already an ask getting subscribers excited about their Essentials, which were glorified YouTube/Facebook Watch videos behind a paywall.
WIll this impact plans that cable news services have in the podcast space? MSNBC and CNN have been pushing into podcasts for some time with Fox and Sky News each ramping up efforts. Most of these shows are just the audio of the talk heavy TV shows being aired. Will they upload the video to Spotify? Does that turn Spotify into a TV catch-up platform too?
The future of TV might actually be podcasts.
Lucas Shaw at Bloomberg reports that gaming streamer Twitch is looking to expand its video offer to include original unscripted series with a focus on game shows, dating shows, sports, music, and talk.
The company isn’t trying to abandon its base of young, male video-game buffs. It has told partners it’s looking for shows that appeal to two demographics: male gaming enthusiasts between the ages of 18 and 24, and anyone between 18 and 24 interested in general entertainment.
Twitch also knows what it doesn’t want:
Everyone pitches an escape room stream,” the company said in its request. “If you were thinking of pitching insert-talent in an escape room, no need!