In the latest sign of companies looking to streamline their brands in an increasingly streaming-centric world, Paramount Global has explored discontinuing Showtime streaming service and folding its content into the Paramount’s flagship Paramount+ offering.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the news of the internal discussions Tuesday and stressed it’s early days. A source within Paramount confirmed talks have been held but emphasized that they are part of a broader assessment of distribution in the future. The lucrative traditional pay-TV business of Showtime remains intact after decades as a tried-and-true part of the linear bundle. The question now is about what shape it takes years from now, as streaming ambitions continue to grow and the linear base shrinks. Dynamics are shifting between pay-TV operators and programmers across the TV landscape, particularly in the premium cable sector, with HBO, Starz and Epix all having grappled with the same challenges facing Paramount and Showtime.
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“We are always exploring options to maximize the value of our content investment by giving consumers access to great Paramount content through an array of services and platforms,” a company spokesman told Deadline in a statement.
While the numbers are not routinely broken out from the overall Paramount total of 64 million streaming subscribers (two-thirds of which are Paramount+), Showtime OTT has grown more than 200% over the past three years, say people acquainted with the numbers.
Showtime programming is already offered on Paramount+ in international markets. It is poised to enter some European markets this year as part of Sky Showtime, a joint venture with Comcast. Showtime’s over-the-top service launched in 2015, the same year as CBS All Access, the forerunner to Paramount+.
Paramount+ and Showtime last month were combined into a single streaming app, the latest move to bundle Paramount’s brands on the Par+ platform, which counted 43.3 million subscribers as of June 30. The combo came with an offer for new subscribers to be able to sign up for Paramount+ With Showtime for $7.99 a month for the basic, ad-supported service and $12.99 for the ad-free version. Current subscribers could upgrade to the bundle within their app. Both Showtime and Paramount+ are still offered as stand-alone services outside of the bundle. Showtime’s stand-alone service costs $10.99 a month.
The latest move comes as Warner Bros Discovery is working to bring together HBO Max and Discovery+ into a single app, and after Disney’s three-part bundle of Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu has seen success since its 2020 introduction. Still, despite the latter it is widely expected Hulu will migrate to Disney+ once Disney gains full control of Hulu in 2024.
Showtime’s current offerings include the breakout Yellowjackets, Billions, The Man Who Fell to Earth and City on a Hill among other drama series, as well as sports, documentaries, Vice and late-night show Ziwe.
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