ViacomCBS will change its corporate name to Paramount as of Feb. 16, calling the move an effort to adopt “an iconic global name” to reflect the conglomerate’s increasingly worldwide focus.
The company’s shares will trade on the NASDAQ index under the ticker symbol PARA (for Class B common shares), PARAA (for Class A common), and PARAP (for Class A preferred).
The moniker makeover was announced Tuesday by ViacomCBS chair Shari Redstone and president-CEO Bob Bakish in a memo to staffers. The news came the same day that ViacomCBS hosted a nearly three-hour investor presentation to tout its global streaming strategy and plans for expanding the Paramount Plus streaming service and other businesses in the U.S. and abroad.
Viacom began life as a child company of CBS which handled syndication rights for the network before becoming its own separate company. CBS is a foundational name in broadcasting — the Columbia Broadcasting System launch dates back to 1927 and the early days of commercial radio. The Eye name will endure on the broadcast network and other existing assets.
“As Paramount, our name will reflect who we are, what we aspire to be, and all that we stand for. It will help advance our strategy of harnessing all our strength and breadth in building the businesses of tomorrow. And it will capture the collective power of our global assets, from our amazing brands—CBS, Showtime, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon, Smithsonian, Paramount Pictures, Paramount+, Pluto TV and more— to our global reach and our diverse audiences. All of which adds up to Paramount being the pre-eminent home to, and producers of, the world’s greatest content,” Redstone and Bakish wrote.
The name change was the first news announced Tuesday during the presentation, after Redstone and Bakish made a theaterical entrance in a sports car to a soundstage at New York’s Kaufman Astoria Studios, which Redstone noted was the original New York home of Paramount Pictures.
The pair also disclosed that Paramount has upgrade its financial guidance for Wall Street, projecting that the company will reach 100 million streaming households worldwide by 2024. That compares to guidance last year from ViacomCBS that it was aiming for 65 million to 75 million by 2024. Throughout the presentation, executives voiced bullish projections for new streaming services and content production operations that amount to a reinvention of ViacomCBS.
Redstone, daughter of the late Viacom and CBS mogul Sumner Redstone, said her focus for the family media empire was to drive a “virtuous cycle” in which “our legacy business powers our transformation and the transformation expands and enhances our legacy businesses.”
Speaking to Licensing Corner after the investor event, Bakish said the name change was in part an effort to set a new tone for the company. “ViacomCBS screams that we’re two companies, and we’re not, we’re one company,” Bakish said. “The other economic rationale is that any dollar spent on ViacomCBS branding has no consumer benefit. As we talk about Paramount, the consumer benefit accruesback to Paramount Plus and Paramount Pictures.”
Here’s the full memo on from Redstone and Bakish:
We could not be prouder of this incredible company.
It has been one year since the spectacular launch of Paramount+ and two years since the successful merger of Viacom and CBS. In that time, we have shown the world what we knew from the start: that together, aligned around a shared vision and shared strategy, we create a whole that is far greater than the sum of its parts.
This is an exciting moment in the history of our company. Our streaming business is growing fast—and going global. Our broad and varied portfolio of content is captivating audiences around the world. Our brands are firing on all cylinders. And as results from the fourth quarter and the whole of last year make clear, our momentum is accelerating. The size of the opportunity we see ahead is matched only by our determination to seize it.
An iconic global company deserves an iconic global name. One that reflects the power of our content; one that reflects our role as stewards of a rich heritage and as leaders in the future of entertainment.
With this in mind, as we’re announcing today at our investor event, ViacomCBS is becoming Paramount Global, or, more simply, Paramount.
For more than a century, the name Paramount has been synonymous with great entertainment and industry leadership. It’s part of our history, as pioneers of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
But as Paramount+ has made clear, it’s also about our bright future.
And, not least, it’s an idea: a promise to be the best.
As Paramount, our name will reflect who we are, what we aspire to be, and all that we stand for. It will help advance our strategy of harnessing all our strength and breadth in building the businesses of tomorrow. And it will capture the collective power of our global assets, from our amazing brands—CBS, Showtime, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon, Smithsonian, Paramount Pictures, Paramount+, Pluto TV and more— to our global reach and our diverse audiences. All of which adds up to Paramount being the pre-eminent home to, and producers of, the world’s greatest content.
We will succeed because we have the best team in the industry: all of you. This change in our name is a testament to the excellence you embody—to the evolution you’re leading, every single day.
Thanks to your hard work and vision, we have never been more excited about the future of this company. Together, Paramount is on the ascent—and ready to reach new heights.
Bob and Shari