Streaming service CBS All Access on Thursday said it revamped its user interface, and it announced a widely expanded library to include shows from networks like BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Smithsonian Channel and movies from Paramount, as well as some new originals planned for release soon. The addition of about 3,500 episodes increases CBS All Access' catalog to about 20,000 episodes and movies, which should rise to 30,000 episodes and movies next year, according to parent company ViacomCBS.
(Note: ViacomCBS is the parent company of CNET.)
The refresh comes just as a crop of new competitors have emerged to take on established players like Netflix, Hulu and CBS All Access itself. A parade of new, big-budget streaming services have rolled out in the last nine months from tech and media giants, a flood of often referred to as the "streaming wars." More than just jockeying between megacorporations, these competitive battles could determine not only who shapes the future of television but also how many services you'll have to use -- and, often, pay for -- to watch your favorite shows.
The refresh of CBS All Access also comes ahead of a planned full rebranding of the service next year, which is expected to change its name to reflect the addition of Viacom to its corporate ownership. CBS launched All Access in 2014, and CBS and Viacom merged last year.
Indeed, much of CBS All Access' widened library Thursday stems from Viacom's businesses. It includes programming like Real Husbands Of Hollywood from BET; Chappelle's Show and Reno 911! from Comedy Central; Jersey Shore: Family Vacation and Beavis And Butt-Head: The Mike Judge Collection from MTV; RuPaul's Drag Race from VH1; and Avatar: Last Airbender, The Legend Of Korra and SpongeBob SquarePants from Nickelodeon.
The service's new interface adds more personalized recommendations and adds features to help viewers find things to watch. CBS All Access said it also introduced curated homepages, new programming categories and hubs for ViacomCBS' networks to find shows based on the channel they're on.
The widened library precedes the premieres of new originals on CBS All Access, including Star Trek: Lower Decks arriving Aug. 6, a project from director Richard Linklater in the fall and limited-series The Stand in late 2020.
CBS All Access costs $6 a month with advertising or $10 a month to watch without ads. In addition to its library of video on demand, the service includes a livestream of subscribers' local CBS stations nationwide, as well livestreams of CBS' other digital news channels like general news network CBSN, CBS Sports HQ and entertainment-focused ET Live.