In a move that might send shockwaves through the streaming industry, Apple TV Plus and Paramount Plus may be about to join forces to take the fight to Netflix.
According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), two of the world's most underrated streamers have held talks about creating a cost-effective bundle to put a stop to Netflix's dominance of the streaming landscape.
People familiar with the discussions reportedly told the WSJ that Apple TV Plus and Paramount Plus aren't just looking to end Netflix's reign as the world's best streaming service. Per the US outlet's sources, the duo are also said to want to offer their services as a joint enterprise in a bid to save people money. Indeed, the two companies are believed to have had meaningful dialog about offering said bundle at a cheaper price than subscribing to both streamers separately – a deal that would surely pique the interest of customers operating on a budget.
TechRadar reached out to Apple and Paramount for comment, but are yet to receive a response from either party. If we hear back, we'll update this article.
Another potentially major shift on the streaming landscape
If the WSJ's report is correct – the outlet is keen to stress talks are still in the early stages – the potential bundling of Paramount Plus and Apple TV Plus into a single package could have a big impact on the wider streaming industry.
For one, the world's eight biggest streamers have all raised their prices over the past 12 months – some, such as Disney Plus and Max, have done so twice in less than a year in the US. That's placed undue pressure on people who are subscribed to multiple services, with many forced to choose which one (or, at a push two) to stay with as the cost of living continues to bite.
The bundling of Paramount and Apple's platforms, then, would be seen as a significant move. Like their rivals, the pair have increased their subscription fees in 2023 – Apple TV Plus' major price hike was particularly irksome to me – and, while each one has some great content to offer customers, their back catalogs aren't on a par with Netflix, Prime Video, or even Hulu. Apple TV Plus' library only consists of first-party (albeit mostly terrific) offerings, while Paramount Plus doesn't have the strength in depth from first and third-party perspectives to compete with the world's most popular services.
To that end, it makes sense for Apple and Paramount to combine their efforts and offer their streaming products to consumers. Doing so at a reduced price would make the bundle even better, as you'd be getting two platforms for (potentially) the price of one. In an era where studios and entertainment companies are looking to undercut each other in a fiercely competitive market, an Apple TV Plus-Paramount Plus bundle sounds like a no brainer.
It isn't such a radical plan, either, when you consider similar mergers and bundles have already happened. Disney currently offers a Disney Plus-Hulu bundle to US customers at a cheaper price than subscribing to the streamers individually. Sometime in 2024, the entertainment behemoth is expected to fully merge Disney Plus and Hulu together into a super streamer, too, in a bid to tackle Netflix itself. That fusion is all the more likely after the Walt Disney Company's full buyout of Hulu from Comcast in early November.
Max, Warner Bros. Discovery's own super streamer, was born after Warner Bros. and Discovery joined forces earlier in mid-2022, too. Before then, HBO Max and Discovery Plus existed as separate entities, but merged in May 2023 to provide more choice to audiences at a more affordable price. Well, until the price of Max increased in October.
It remains to be seen if the combined powers of Apple and Paramount will be enough to overhaul Netflix. Beaming the best Apple TV Plus shows and best Paramount Plus movies into more homes will be a success in its own right but, if the duo ever want to stand a chance of besting Netflix, it might take a concerted joint effort to do so first.