It’s the multi-billion-dollar deal yet to be approved by US regulators, but the pending CBS and Viacom merger already has the Australian media industry talking.
Network Ten is poised to be the network most likely to cash in on the deal after the local FTA provider was snapped up by CBS in 2017.
Speaking with The Australian, Network Ten CEO Paul Anderson signalled potential upheaval to local streaming options.
“What they have said is the first strategic priority that they’ve outlined is the direct-to-consumer components. So they’ve got some really strong direct-to-consumer assets with Showtime and All Access [CBS’ streaming service],” Anderson said.
“And you know Viacom bought [streaming service] Pluto. So we’ll see how that all washes out. That’s going to be fascinating and that’s obviously one of their priorities.”
Australia’s streaming landscape appears to be on the brink of significant reform.
Nine has previously indicated its desire to continue its relationship with global heavyweight Disney as the company prepares to roll out the highly-anticipated Disney+ streaming service.
Apple is also set to introduce its own streaming service to the Australian market at some point, while Netflix has lost a chunk of its content recently, as traditional players like WarnerMedia prepare to launch their own streaming services.
Nine’s streaming service Stan currently hosts programs produced by CBS’ Showtime, such as Russell Crowe’s The Loudest Voice.
Anderson said, “we’re yet to see what happens long-term with that content” on Stan’s CBS programming.
The Viacom CBS merger brings the likes of MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Paramount and Showtime all under the same umbrella.
It also brings CBS’ All Access streaming service and Viacom’s Pluto onto the same side, although it is still unclear how and if these two services will be integrated.
In Australia, there are even more questions on how streaming might change in the long term, but Anderson suggested Network Ten wants to be a part of it.
“I think one of the things that Viacom have said is that streaming is becoming segmented,” he said.
“So in this market, the introduction of Disney Plus at some point is going to have, one would imagine, quite an impact, given the popularity of that content. You know that will have implications for Stan.