Is the show going to be over for Showtime?
Paramount Global is having “early” discussions about shutting down Showtime as a standalone service and migrating Showtime’s slate of premium content into its flagship streamer, Paramount+, according to a Wall Street Journal report, citing anonymous sources. Paramount has “broached the idea” of shuttering Showtime in talks with “at least one major pay-TV partner,” per the report.
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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. Meanwhile, next week, SkyShowtime — a joint venture between Comcast and Paramount Global — is launching in the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, before expanding into the Netherlands in Q4.
In a statement, Paramount did not directly address the question of whether Showtime will continue to exist long-term as a separate service. “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 rep said in a statement to Variety.
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.
Showtime’s popular shows include “Billions,” “Yellowjackets,” “The Chi” and “Dexter: New Blood.” 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 “Tulsa King,” “On the Come Up,” “Criminal Minds,” “Wolf Pack,” “1923” and the return of “The Good Fight” and “Seal Team.”
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.
Paramount+ is the rebranded version of what was previously called CBS All Access. It’s available in two tiers: the ad-supported Essential Plan ($4.99 monthly), which excludes access to livestreams from CBS local affiliates; and the ad-free Premium Plan ($9.99 monthly). Showtime, as a standalone streaming service, costs $10.99 per month.
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.
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