ViacomCBS Is Selling $3 Billion in Stock to Fund Paramount+, a Service Some People Evidently Don't Know Exists

Illustration for article titled ViacomCBS Is Selling $3 Billion in Stock to Fund Paramount+, a Service Some People Evidently Don't Know Exists
Photo: Catie Keck/Gizmodo

The parent company behind Paramount+ has announced it’s looking to raise $3 billion to help fund operations, including for its new streaming service—that some consumers evidently have no idea exists.

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ViacomCBS said Monday it will offer $2 billion in Class B common stock and $1 billion in Series A Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock. J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley will act as joint book-running managers. In a statement, the company said that it “intends to use the combined net proceeds from the Offerings for general corporate purposes, including investments in streaming.”

Paramount+ launched earlier this month as the overhauled version of the company’s previous streaming service CBS All Access and includes hubs for content from BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, and the Smithsonian Channel. At launch, the service offered two streaming tiers: a $6-per-month plan with limited commercials and a $10-per-month option that drops ads from on-demand content (though they’ll still be present on live programming). In June, the service will kill the $6 plan and introduce a new $5-per-month ad-supported tier.

Like many of its streaming peers, Paramount+ will offer exclusive programming available only on its service. And funding that programming, of course, will take money. At launch, the service had just a handful of new titles immediately available, including 60 Minutes+, For Heaven’s Sake, Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years, The Real World Homecoming: New York, and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run.

It will, however, be home to two of this year’s biggest film releases—A Quiet Place Part II and Mission: Impossible 7—45 days after they leave theaters. And ViacomCBS is targeting 65 million to 75 million subscriptions by 2024, which means it’ll have to invest in attractive content for Paramount+ if it means to hit that milestone on schedule.

That’s going to be especially difficult if findings from a recent study are any indication of the appetite for this service in a sea of other streaming offerings that launched prior to Paramount+ entering the scene. An online survey of 500 U.S. adults published by the site Cordcutting found that 46% of respondents knew about Paramount+, which, yikes.

Admittedly, that’s a pretty small pool to be a meaningful indicator as to whether most consumers are completely unaware that the service exists. But it’s not exactly a great sign, either.

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DISCUSSION

I couldn’t care less, and I have no interest in paying for yet another streaming service. Want me to watch your shows? Make a non-exclusive deal with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and whoever else, and get my money that way.  I’m tired of this fracturing and balkanization and I can’t wait for most of these upstarts to fail and give up.  We gave up cable for a reason folks.