Watching This Week #112
Listings for May 29 to June 4, 2023; Corus channels appear set to leave Eastlink.
News about Paramount+, "Beartown", "Search Party", "The Muppet Show", and more.
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We're going to give another go at the weekly update thing. The last time we did this was in May of last year. We're obviously not going to recap everything that's happened since then – just the past week – but we are intending this to be a bit more regular going forward.
The main change is that you can now subscribe to This Week in WCIW as an email newsletter. If you're seeing this on the website, you can click the Newsletter link on the left sidebar (you might have to click the hamburger menu at the top), or just click here.
For the time being, there is no charge to subscribe. However, we still have hosting costs to cover, and we'd prefer not to be too reliant on affiliate commissions from only one or two companies. So consider this fair warning that down the line, future weekly updates may become part of an optional paid subscription. Our intention is that everything that's free to view on the site today will remain that way, but the subscription may also encompass additional new resources. We'll share more details as warranted.
You might recall that this past September, ViacomCBS announced that it would be launching Paramount+ as its new "big" streaming service, absorbing existing services like CBS All Access and adding more content from sibling outlets like Paramount Pictures, MTV and Comedy Central.
While CBSAA has been available in Canada for some time, its lineup has always been a bit, well, streamlined compared to the U.S. product. You can see the full list here. A few of the shows are premieres, but most are classics, or else became available after a window on another Canadian TV channel. And it has not been bolstered with content from other ViacomCBS units – which makes sense considering that most of those brands have their Canadian rights tied up with Bell (MTV, Comedy Central, Showtime) and Corus (Nick, CMT, and most of the CBS lineup).
The international version of the September announcement indicated that CBSAA would be rebranded in Canada, but was silent on what it would be rebranded as. Now we know: it, too, will become Paramount+ on March 4, the same day as the U.S. rebrand. But as far as programming goes, "an expanded offering will be available later in the year".
What the "expanded offering" actually means in terms of Canada is not yet clear. There's now an investor event lined up for February 24 to go over VCBS' full streaming strategy, so we might find out more then. Evidently, however, it will be similar enough to the international product that they feel comfortable calling it "Paramount+". (That and, well, there's probably some minor savings from not having to maintain a separately-branded app just for one country.)
Will ViacomCBS actually bite the bullet and pull back the rights to its catalogue from Bell and Corus? Probably not in full – a streaming service can't replicate the reach of the Canadian broadcasters' linear channels. The "expanded offering" may well just be a few extra movies from the Paramount library. But considering that they're using the opportunity to regain control of Showtime's output in countries like Australia, it wouldn't shock us if that ultimately ends up being the case in Canada as well.
We'll try to do this again next week. See you then!
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