ViacomCBS revs up to join Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Apple, NBCUniversal in the streaming video war for consumer wallets

Apple TV+, coming this fall, is the new home for the world’s most celebrated creative artists
Apple TV+, coming this fall, is the new home for the world’s most celebrated creative artists

Ahead of the launches of Disney+ and Apple TV+, ViacomCBS’ Shari Redstone is looking for more scale.

Kenneth Li for Reuters:

More than two months before CBS Corp and Viacom Inc succeeded at a third attempt to recombine, controlling shareholder Shari Redstone had already decided the new company needed to get bigger. “We would want to look at something after that to … develop more scale as we move forward,” Redstone said at The Information’s Women in Tech, Media and Finance conference in June… It was clear that her ambitions went well beyond the hard-won reunion of the two companies her father, Sumner Redstone, put together and then pulled apart 13 years ago during a very different era in media.

Even with the combined portfolio of companies that include the CBS television network, CBS News, Showtime cable network and book publisher Simon & Schuster with MTV, Paramount studios and Nickelodeon, the new company, which will be called ViacomCBS Inc, will lack the firepower required to take on the likes of Walt Disney Co and Netflix Inc, Redstone believed.

By next year, the battle waged by big tech and the last of the remaining media giants will get bloodier when Disney, AT&T Inc and Comcast’s NBCUniversal join Netflix, Inc and Apple Inc in the streaming video war for consumer wallets.

MacDailyNews Take: Sony would be an interesting acquisition for ViacomCBS or other companies with streaming ambitions, not only for Sony’s library of titles, but also for PlayStation Vue which, despite being badly named (it’s not a gaming console), it’s easily our most-used app on Apple TV, with live local affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox plus many other “channels,” its well-thought-out cloud DVR, On Demand, and more. It has much potential, especially with a proper rename and some real marketing.


  1. Aaaaand, we’re right back where we started with cable TV. That didn’t take long. I don’t want even Apple to be my cable company, thanks. I predict the day will come when to have everything you want, streaming will outpace cable in price, you’ll still be stuck with a bunch of junk you don’t care about, and we will be right back where we started. Sometimes I think millennials were born purely to repeat history and drag us all backward into the mistakes of the past. The Valley has been more annoying than anything else since their debut.

    1. Totally agree. This isn’t the “a la carte” option so many of us have wanted to see. So instead of paying $100 for a single monthly cable bill, we’re going to have to pay six or seven different streaming bills roughly the same amount, PLUS a cable bill for all the other channels not covered by streaming services.

      I’ve long advocated for the “magazine subscription” model. Let me buy SHOWS not channels, and I’ll be happy…

      1. The a la carte model will not work. It would reduce television to the level of cinema. No broad area-of-interest channels, just individual featured shows.

        Cable TV gives people a thousand shows they never knew they wanted / liked. I will watch Law & Order all weekend long, giving Universal the eyeballs to rake in ad dollars. But when asked to pick which shows I want to subscribe to, it’s not on the list.

  2. I don’t know about whether Netflix will be ruined by the competition, but I’m going to be really surprised if Netflix is able to keep such a high share price. It’s unlikely Netflix would be able to keep growing its subscriber base at a high rate with so many other streaming services to choose from. I’m sure Netflix’s CEO will say that competition is good and consumers won’t leave Netflix but I don’t think that would be true. I actually want to see if Wall Street continues to give Netflix a premium value as it has been doing in the past and is able to remain part of the glorious FANG group. I wouldn’t think it would be possible, but I can’t really figure out Wall Street’s reasoning for giving some companies such a huge amount of value leeway and not others.

    Disney really has a lot to offer potential subscribers so I figure many Netflix customers will be switching to Disney’s streaming service. That’s just my opinion of course. We shall see over time, but I simply can’t imagine Netflix will just breeze through this onslaught of competition and not take enough losses to lower its value. I have Amazon Prime so I have plenty of content to watch and have never even tried Netflix. I’m not sure what Apple will be able to do but I’m sure they will get some subscribers if the cost of their streaming bundle is reasonable in price. I’m anxious to see what Apple will be charging. If Apple can just break even on streaming content it would be worth it if they can sell more hardware with it.

  3. I hate to say this, but this is one market that Apple can’t beat. Of all the major streaming services, they have the smallest library, a zero track record in entertainment production, and no foreseeable technological advantage over Disney, Warners, CBS/Viacom, NBCUniversal, etc.

    Unless there’s a secret hardware play coming (the long-rumored Apple TV), I can’t see Apple as one of the survivors in this coming war…

  4. C’mon. Even ancient Rome did not offer a la carte at the Colosseum for its gladiatotial shows; The emperor gave you the whole package. You could not pick and choose; You fot the bad and the good actors.

  5. Apple is waiting to see which is the best value to acquire. They have been waiting patiently for something to tie everything together. What better way than buying a major network/studio with established history.

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