With the launch of Disney+ and AT&T/WarnerMedia’s 2020 launch of HBO Max, two of the biggest sets of American cartoon libraries will be largely tied to those services in the future. Thus, there’s been a lot of debate how this will affect Netflix going forward. Since Netflix isn’t owned by a major media conglomerate, third party material acquisitions plays a big role. Fortunately, more help for Netflix might soon come from Viacom (or soon to be “ViacomCBS“) and Nickelodeon.
Viacom owns Nickelodeon, and with it its stable of characters, from “Rugrats” to “SpongeBob.” The cable channel giant’s signed a deal with Netflix to develop TV shows and movies for the streaming service. Proposed plans include a spin-off starring Squidward, SpongeBob’s cranky neighbor.
As for ViacomCBS’ own service, CBS All Access is set to gain in January a sizable (but currently undefined) library of Nickelodeon content. Additionally, several other shows are coming to CBS All Access; these include the current “Danger Mouse” reboot, the “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” animated series, and “Bob the Builder.”
What’s in it for Netflix
Netflix benefits by gaining popular material tied to a major animation studio’s library of characters. Netflix has already gained positive attention from carrying the recent Nickelodeon “Rocko’s Modern Life” and “Invader Zim” movies.
This deal might make Netflix look more appealing, in light of stiff competition on the animation front. Disney and WarnerMedia combined own many of the world’s most famous cartoon franchises; they range from Mickey Mouse, Pixar movies, and Spider-Man to Superman, Cartoon Network, and Looney Tunes. Netflix has some well-done originals (such as “She-Ra”). However, Netflix might have less access in the future to the famous Disney and Warner franchises; thus, gaining Viacom material will be very helpful.
What’s in it for ViacomCBS
ViacomCBS’ strategy seems to be to offer its shows to various streaming services, rather than mainly or exclusively relying on its own service. That’d keep with Viacom’s origins as CBS’ syndication programming arm. Viacom also might be acknowledging that relying heavily on their traditional cable network structure isn’t a winning strategy going forward.
Finally, Viacom and CBS combined aren’t as large as Disney or WarnerMedia (revenues in 2018 for Viacom/CBS combined was less than half of that for the House of Mouse). So offering their material to some third-party platforms might be the best way forward?
What’s in it for CBS All Access
CBS All Access gaining Viacom’s library of material makes the service more appealing to more than just “Star Trek” fans. While “Discovery” is popular, it’s not enough by itself to compete with other streaming services.
CBS All Access could become the main online home for much of the back library for “Rugrats,” “SpongeBob,” and other Nick classics. It’d also be an on-demand alternative to the live-streaming nature of Pluto TV.
That said, whether all of this will be enough for CBS All Access to compete with Disney+ or HBO Max in 2020 and beyond remains to be seen.