When ViacomCBS devised its streaming strategy, they envisioned a world where they could use a few brands in their portfolio to build and promote their service. According to the New York Times, these brands included BET, Nickelodeon, MTV, and others. The Motley Fool calls this description “the house of brands.”
Within those flagship brands are “tentpole” properties known the world over, and in some cases, they are considered timeless. These tentpole properties include “SpongeBob Squarepants,” “NCIS,” and “Star Trek.” The company touts the power and draw of Trek in their official press releases.
“Built from an iconic portfolio of beloved consumer brands and iconic franchises like ‘SpongeBob’ and ‘Star Trek,’ Paramount+ is a compelling and differentiated streaming offering for all audiences,” said Tom Ryan, President, and CEO of ViacomCBS Streaming.
Even now, the media giant is looking to fill positions within the company to support this master plan.
‘Star Trek’ on Paramount+
One of the problems with this plan is that many of their tentpole properties were and still are available on other streaming platforms, including the entire seasons of “Star Trek,” “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine,” and “Enterprise.” All of those titles are currently available on Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon, for example.
From the start, the new “Star Trek” titles, which include “Discovery,” “Picard,” and “Lower Decks,” are only available on CBS All Access, now known as Paramount+, in the United States. Meaning, that if fans wanted to watch the new Trek shows, they’d need to subscribe to Paramount+ or wait until the shows are released on Blu-ray.
In Europe, the relationship between ViacomCBS and Netflix is much different than in the U.S. In order to land the streaming rights to “Star Trek: Discovery” in many markets outside of the United States, Netflix helped cover the costs of DISCO for CBS.
For ViacomCBS, it simply does not make sense to build viewership on their own streaming platform and leave valuable parts of their “Star Trek” portfolio available to others. The first sign of this change in strategy was back in December 2019, when “Star Trek: The Animated Series” was pulled from Netflix.
‘Star Trek’ on Hulu
Thanks to a report in Decider, a site that helps consumers “decide” what to watch on the various platforms, the rest of “Star Trek” will soon leave Netflix as well.
According to Decider, “The Original Series,” “Voyager,” “Enterprise,” and “Star Trek (2009)” will no longer be available on Netflix. These titles are available on Amazon Prime and Hulu — for now. Paramount+ will have all of those titles, along with all of the new “Star Trek” shows.
Some view Paramount+ as the future home of all things Trek, much like Disney+ is the streaming network for the new “Star Wars” content. Fan site “What’s On Netflix,” says this, and also that they suspect more Trek titles will migrate to Paramount+ as their current agreements expire.
Oddly enough, as the Trek shows leave Netflix, the Trek movies are leaving Paramount+. According to a recent story by Comic Book Resources, as of August 5, 2021, only three of the 13 “Star Trek” films are available on Paramount+. Writer Brian Cronin speculates that this might be part of a plan by Paramount+ to release the new upgraded 4K versions of a few of the TOS-era films, and this might be timed for the release of the new “Star Trek” film, which is still in development.
“Paramount+ will be the exclusive home of the upcoming 4K/HDR remaster of Robert Wise’s Directors Edition of ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ in early 2022, so that’s something!” writes Cronin.
Star Trek Day 2021
New announcements might be just around the corner, as Paramount is set for a slew of streaming news and celebration of all things “Star Trek.” They have just announced the slate of events for 2021 “Star Trek Day.” This day, September 8, recognizes the day when “The Original Series” debuted on NBC Television in 1966. Last year’s “Star Trek Day” gave fans much to look forward to — “Star Trek Day 2021” could likely have some surprises in store as well.