After years of planning, CBS and Viacom have announced a merger between the two companies bringing their combined value to a reported $28 billion. Interestingly, these two companies were once one, before splitting up in 2006. They will now be known as ViacomCBS, and have declared that this new entity will be a “leading global, multiplatform, premium content company, with the assets, capabilities, and scale to be one of the most important content producers and providers in the world.” And they’ll start by reuniting the two halves of perhaps their biggest franchise– ‘Star Trek’.
CBS owns the ‘Star Trek brand and the TV rights and library, while Viacom subsidiary Paramount Pictures held the rights to the movies and film library.
For the time being, there most likely won’t be any changes on either side. Paramount has two ‘Trek’ movie scripts in the works, and that talk about a Tarantino flick keeps bubbling up. Meanwhile, CBS is launching a full-scale ‘Trek’ assault on TV. They already have the hit ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ and ‘Star Trek: Short Treks’, with ‘Picard’ on its way, ‘Lower Decks’, and an animated series on Nickelodeon. But per Trek Movie: “Once the merger goes through the approval process, and the corporate structures are merged, there could be important changes to the franchise in the medium-to-long term for Star Trek.”
Like every major entertainment company around now, ViacomCBS has its eye on further expansion into the direct-to-consumer/streaming arenas.
Here is a sampling from the lengthy press release regarding the merger:
Premium content at scale. The combined company will possess a portfolio of powerful consumer brands, including CBS, Showtime, Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central and Paramount Network, as well as one of the largest libraries of iconic intellectual property, spanning every key genre and addressing consumers of all ages and demographics. This library comprises 140,000+ TV episodes and 3,600+ film titles, and reunites fan-favorite franchises such as Star Trek and Mission: Impossible. The combined company will also have more than 750 series currently ordered to or in production. In addition, it will include a major Hollywood film studio, Paramount Pictures, which creates and distributes feature-length entertainment around the world. The combined company will also be one of the largest content spenders, with more than $13 billion spent in the last 12 months.
For the time being, don’t expect any major changes, but should any more information emerge, we’ll update you!