Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Paramount Reportedly Looking To Shutter Showtime’s Stand-Alone Streaming Service And Shift Content To Paramount+

Paramount Global is reportedly exploring discontinuing its Showtime streaming service and folding its content into the Paramount’s flagship Paramount+ offering.

Paramount has “broached the idea” of shuttering Showtime in talks with “at least one major pay-TV partner,” per the report. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news of the internal discussions Tuesday (Sept. 13) and stressed it’s early days. Paramount has “broached the idea” of shuttering Showtime in talks with “at least one major pay-TV partner,” per the report.

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 talks are the latest sign of companies looking to streamline their brands in an increasingly streaming-centric world, 

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.

“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.

According to company insiders, there are no imminent changes being contemplated for the Showtime brand. However, sources confirmed to Variety that the media conglomerate is floating the prospect of combining Paramount+ and Showtime as part of long-term discussions with distributors.

“Paramount executives are discussing the incentives they could offer cable and satellite companies to allow Showtime to be folded into Paramount+, the people familiar with the situation said,” Jessica Toonkel wrote in the WSJ.

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 SkyShowtime, 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+.

SkyShowtime will launch in the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden on Sept. 20, before expanding into the Netherlands in Q4. SkyShowtime will continue its roll out across Spain, Portugal, Andorra, and Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) over the coming months and through Q1 2023.

The WSJ report comes less than a month after Paramount combined Paramount+ and Showtime into a single, merged service, letting subscribers access content from both streamers in one place, and offering discounts of up to 33% on the Paramount+/Showtime bundle through Oct. 2.

The regular U.S. pricing for the Paramount+/Showtime bundle is $11.99/month for the Essential tier and $14.99/month for Premium tier, representing discounts of 25% and 28%, respectively. 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.

In announcing Q2 earnings, Paramount said that Paramount+ now has 43.3 million paid customers, a net add of 3.7 million for the June quarter (including 1.2 million disconnects in Russia). The company’s total streaming subscribers globally reached 63.7 million in the second quarter, a gain of 1.7 million, meaning the company’s other direct-to-consumer services dropped 2.4 million subs overall.

Paramount does not break out the number of subscribers for Showtime or its other direct-to-consumer services. According to a company source, Showtime’s streaming subscriber numbers have more than tripled over the last three years.

Meanwhile, Paramount recently inked a deal with Walmart under which Paramount+ is now available in the retailing giant’s Walmart+ membership program.

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. However, despite the latter it is widely expected Hulu will migrate to Disney+ once Disney gains full control of Hulu in 2024.

While there is certainly overlap that will be erased if the services do merge, the move would seem to make sense in the larger scope of Paramount’s strategy to create a service that has something for everybody. Not only would Paramount+ be the home for iconic kids’ content from Nickelodeon, broadcast favorites from CBS, NFL and English Premier League soccer, and Paramount Studios’ films, but also for one of the most enduring premium channels on cable. That is certainly an attractive marketing pitch as streaming competition continues to heat up.

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. Fall premieres on the premium service include American Gigolo, Let the Right One In and the return of Your Honor and The L Word: Generation Q.

Content on Paramount+ includes original series like 1883, Halo, Star Trek: Discovery and Secret Headquarters with upcoming originals this fall slated to include Transformers: EarthSparkBlue's Big City AdventureTulsa King, On the Come Up, Criminal Minds, Wolf Pack, 1923 and the return of Star Trek: Prodigy, The Good Fight and Seal Team.

Stream a Mountain of Entertainment, including your Nickelodeon favourites on Paramount+! Try it FREE at!

Originally published: September 14, 2022.

H/T: What's on Paramount+; Additional source: The Streamable.

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