Paramount CEO pegs bundling as growing part of streaming play

Paramount Global sees values in bundling, and while details around packaging, partners and timing remain to be seen, the company’s chief executive officer on Monday pegged bundling as a growing part of its streaming strategy.

Paramount isn’t a stranger to bundling, with CEO Bob Bakish on the company’s second quarter earnings call noting the company has been believers in the tactic for some time and has already pursued bundles through a variety of approaches. 

“Bundling has been one of the tried and true methods of value creation in media,” Bakish said during Q2 earnings, adding that bundling is certainly part of Paramount’s strategy as it enters the streaming space.

That includes earlier efforts such as a discounted price offer for bundling Showtime and Paramount+ before the two apps were recently integrated into one experience as an upgraded tier. Bakish also pointed to bundles with partners outside of the U.S. Internationally it’s sometimes followed a hard bundle model with distributors and offers the Paramount+ SVOD as part of a tier that a traditional MVPD offers, including with Sky Cinema in the U.K. and Canal+ in France, among others. Another example is Paramount’s 2022 deal with Walmart, where Paramount+ is included as the video offer for the Walmart+ subscription membership program.

Although Paramount has bundled its own assets together and as part of other traditional TV offerings with partners, Bakish was responding to questions from an analyst on the call who mentioned discussions around different media companies potentially bundling their streaming services together in the future, asking Paramount leadership if that is something they could see happening. (StreamTV Insider previously reported on the potential for streaming services to start offering bundles even with historical competitors. For a deeper dive into why it could be the next move and who might be best positioned, read here. And for a related look at how consumers elements may be shifting in favor of bundles, see here.)

Following his comments on how Paramount is already deploying bundles, Bakish reiterated “we believe in bundling.”

“We are continuing to look at incremental opportunities in this regard, and the only thing we know for sure is it will be a growing part of what we’re doing,” Bakish commented, adding specifics around partners, timing and so on for bundles is still a matter of “we’ll see.”

“But bundling is definitely a value-added element of streaming because it gives you access to consumer connections that others have, aka allows you to penetrate a TAM [total addressable market] and it has certain attractive margining characteristics,” he continued. “So we like bundling.”

Circana’s John Buffone, VP and industry advisor, previously told StreamTV Insider that streaming services could be more willing to participate in bundles with other providers for the two primary goals of subscriber acquisition, and possibly most importantly to reduce churn, at a time when some streaming services are reaching a point of saturation.

Bakish’s comments also lend to Buffone’s belief that an era of experimentation is ahead over the next two or three years, with more sophisticated product packaging strategies emerging alongside a maturing industry as streamers test to see what kind of pairings to pursue, which work, and the resulting outcomes of doing so.