It's official. Viacom and CBS are merging.
The two companies released a joint statement today confirming the merger. ViacomCBS Inc will be the new company name following completion of the merger.
According to the release, ViacomCBS will become "one of the most important content producers and providers in the world."
The announcement did not go into detail on the effects of the merger, but did say it will result in an acceleration and expansion of their related direct-to-consumer services. The announcement specifically name-dropped both CBS All Access and Pluto TV.
There was no suggestion these two streaming services would merge forces. Instead, they were named to highlight how the new company plans to attack both the subscription and free streaming markets. CBS All Access is a paid-for subscription service offering both ad-free and ad-supported subscription plans. Pluto TV is an ad-supported free streaming service.
Both services are likely to see some changes and/or improvements following the merger. The announcement explains the new company will have joint access to "140,000+ premium TV episodes and 3,600+ film titles." With a wider pool of content to choose from, it is likely one service could gain content deemed more applicable based on its paid-for or free audience.
Many to feel the effects of a Viacom CBS Merger
A combined Viacom and CBS is likely to show itself in other ways as well. For example, both companies recently had a separate run-in with AT&T and DIRECTV NOW.
Viacom's dispute saw its channels being removed from the new-look DIRECTV NOW plans. More recently, CBS's dispute resulted in a temporary blackout for a number of AT&T video service subscribers. This blackout not only affected national CBS access, but also local CBS-owned channels.
While AT&T has since agreed terms with both companies, ending the two disputes, with the two companies now acting as one the clout of each has suddenly grown significantly. In turn, this is likely to give both sides of the merger more bargaining power when it comes to negotiating new agreements in the future. This is only the latest in mergers that have taken place recently. Highlighting how media companies are feeling the need to combine to keep up with the other combined entities that are now in play.
The merger is still subject to the usual regulatory approvals. Although neither Viacom nor CBS expect this to be a problem and expect the merger to close by the end of the year.