CBS All Access joining the ‘plus’ branding bandwagon

CBS will rebrand its streaming service CBS All Access as Paramount+ in 2021 parent company ViacomCBS announced.

CBS launched the streamer in 2014.

After CBS and Viacom merged again in 2019, the combined company would eventually announce a two part reshaping of the service.

The first phase was adding around 3,500 episodes of content from the former Viacom owned networks.

This included content from MTV, BET, Comedy Central, MTV Nickelodeon and the Smithsonian Channel.

Execs also noted that a rebranding was coming — and that new name and logo design was announced Sept. 15, 2020.

Paramount+ has the advantage of some nice alliteration, but also is entrenches a bit on Disney’s branding strategy used by Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu + Live TV.

That said, the “plus” nomenclature is hardly “owned” by Disney (Walmart used the word for its Amazon Prime competitor and it’s also used by Apple).

It’s also worth noting that “paramount” means, quite literally, more important or higher than anything else, so the name Paramount+ is a superlative that implies something that goes “beyond” the top (or put another way it’s a bit redundant). 

For a logo, the streamer will stick with the famous Paramount mountain logo theme, though it’s closer to the one used by Paramount Network than Paramount Pictures.

Another iconic element, the ring of stars, is brought inside of the circle that halos the mountain peak and reversed out of the shape.

The Paramount+ logo design

Paramount notes it reduced the number of stars to 13, which correspondents to the number of letters in the service’s name when you spell out “plus.” 

A bright blue was selected for the look, borrowing cues from both the Paramount and ViacomCBS brands.

Like most “plus” branded services, the network tacked on the mathematical symbol for “plus” to its script logotype. The angle of the plus sign matches the angle of the letters.

Paramount+ is driving home the logo them with the tagline “Live sports. Breaking news. A mountain of entertainment.”

CBS All Access currently includes live streams from select local affiliates across the country and also pulls content in from separate streaming services under the CBSN, CBS Sports HQ and ET Live banners that are also available for free outside of the platform.

While Paramount+ will carry programming seen on the cable network Paramount Network, it will be a distinct entity and also combine content from other parts of the ViacomCBS empire.

Paramount Network was formerly known as Spike TV and simply Spike as well as TNN — which itself stood for “The Nashville Network” originally before shifting to “The National Network” and “The New TNN” branding over the years.

It started using the Paramount name in 2018.

It’s interesting that ViacomCBS is choosing to bundle more brands under the Paramount name — since it’s at least somewhat reminiscent of the “old days” of the studio system.

While the Paramount Network has revived the name to at least some extent, it’s also notworthy that the service is losing its reference to CBS or that brand.

NBC, for example, opted to name its standalone streaming service Peacock after its logo — something that ViacomCBS could have explored with the use of the “eye” logo or related words (for example, the network publishes “CBS Watch” magazine). 

In fairness, the CBS and Viacom names could be linked to “old media” whereas the Paramount name could be revived, in a sense, to have a new link to digital offerings.

Paramount, meanwhile, argues that the name conveys the best in entertainment.