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Dan Barrett is an industry commentator & TV critic. He does radio - 4BC & ABC GC and co-hosts the Screen Watching podcast. He's a former Mediaweek deputy editor and content creator for SBS.
Rebranded CBS All Access coming to Australia, Latin America, & The Nordics.
ALSO: Shudder launches in Australia. AND: RIP High Fidelity.
We now have confirmed details on the international roll-out of the rebranded CBS All Access. And there’s a lot of great news for those living outside the US.
This is what you need to know:
Exclusive new series premieres from the ViacomCBS-owned Showtime will be included in the international CBS All Access product (whatever it ends up being called). Showtime will continue to be stand-alone in the US.
Countries on the roadmap include: Australia (where the existing service 10 All Access service will be rebranded and beefed up with a lot more content), Latin America (including Argentina, Brazil and Mexico), and Nordic countries. For Latin America and the Nordics, CBSViacom will rebrand and beef up its existing Paramount+ streaming service.
CBS All Access originals will premiere exclusively on the service. It is not yet known what the fate is of existing CBS All Access shows that have already been licensed elsewhere (ie Star Trek Discovery which has a global Netflix release, and The Good Fight which is on SBS in Australia and Amazon Prime Video in most other territories).
The international CBS All Access by another name will use the exact same platform as the US version. The only difference will be in some of the content (and it appears there’ll be a lot more on offer internationally thanks to the Showtime component of this).
Like the US CBS All Access, the international streamer will also feature movies from Paramount Pictures and content from Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Paramount Network, as well as originals from ViacomCBS International Studios "in some markets."
A little fuzzy still is what role Pluto TV will play in this - Pluto TV is the ViacomCBS online linear channel streaming service. There is talk that Pluto TV will be integrated into the rebranded app. David Lynn, CEO and President of ViacomCBS Networks International says the new international service and Pluto TV are part of a "linked ecosystem" with a "twin strategy" of free and subscription streaming offers. So… *shrug emoji*.
ViacomCBS will also keep licensing content to third parties in foreign markets, he says.
The international roll-out of the rebranded CBS All Access will cause shockwaves in a number of markets. ViacomCBS will continue licensing its titles internationally, but that is more older library titles. In other words, the ready supply of archive classics like Star Trek, The Brady Bunch, and Cheers isn’t going away anytime soon. But it has been determined that in an international battle against Netflix, there’s greater value going direct to consumers with new premium content instead of third-party deals.
Showtime was great for Stan - it gave them buzzy titles like Billions and the Twin Peaks revival series. And there’s a constant stream of highly anticipated Showtime series on the horizon like the Ethan Hawke limited series Good Lord Bird. During the life of the contract, Showtime really lifted its game and debuted some top notch high quality shows.
But with ViacomCBS focusing on keeping new Showtime content in-house once the Stan contract ends (presumably Jan 2021), where does that leave Stan?
All of the big content output deals are locked up elsewhere. Can Stan continue on buying shows ad-hoc from smaller suppliers and still maintain subscriber numbers? Signing up to the rebranded CBS All Access is going to be fairly appealing. How many streaming services are people going to want?
Horror streamer Shudder now streaming in Australia
AMC-owned horror streaming service Shudder has launched in Australia. It’s priced at AUS$6.99 per month, with a discounted annual subscription for $69.99 (that works out to $5.83 per month). There’s a 7-day free trial for new subscribers.
On offer are on-demand horror/sci-fi films and TV series. While there are curated collections available, the library size is manageable enough to browse and find titles yourself.
One of the great novelties on the platform is the linear channel streaming titles from the library - It Came From Shudder.
NOTE: At time of publication, Shudder hasn’t made an official announcement regarding the Australian launch. Also, apps are not yet available in the iOS app store. But the site is live and taking Australian payment, so it is likely just a matter of hours away. If you have a US iTunes account, you can download the US Shudder app and log in with your Australian account.
High Fidelity cancelled
The High Fidelity TV series has been cancelled after just one season. Ultimately, it’s not a huge surprise considering its origins. Made originally for Disney+, the adult content in the show (there’s a bit of sex and nudity) resulted in the show being moved over to Hulu where it was a much better fit. But not being a show of Hulu likely means support wasn’t overwhelming internally and, despite some enthusiastic viewers, it never seemed to get much social traction. I’m curious to know what the viewership figures actually were.
The Undoing is a new thriller starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant. It comes from David E Kelley and director Susanne Bier. It debuts Oct 26 on HBO and, in Australia, on Binge.
Good Lord Bird with Ethan Hawke debuts on Showtime in the US on Oct 4. It will stream on the same day in Australia on Stan.
Amazon Prime Video has ordered a TV series based on the film A League of Their Own. Abbi Jacobson from Broad City will star. Source: New York Post
Australian pay TV company Foxtel received a $10 million pay-out from a COVID-19 fund. Source: The New Daily
The ABC has the Australian rights to the new BBC documentary series about the Murdoch family. Source: SMH
Comcast were planning to expand Sky News from the UK and turn it into a CNN International competitor. Thanks to the stupid virus, that’s no longer happening. And that’s a shame. Source: FT
Beloved UK cult game show Taskmaster debuted in the US, but has been yanked from the schedule due to low ratings. The show has just debuted in Australia too on SBS VICELAND where one assumes it will last a bit longer. Source: THR
A film based on Knight Rider is in development. Sounds like a cynical play for an Oscar to me. Source: Dark Horizons
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Late Late Show with James Corden will both return to studios after hiatus ends next week. Colbert has already said that he won’t be returning back to the Ed Sullivan Theatre. Source: Deadline
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