Paramount+ marks latest international launch, rolls out in Austria, Germany, Switzerland

Paramount+ continued its international expansion on Thursday, with the streaming service rolling out in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

With the latest launches Paramount Global’s premium streaming service is now available in 45 markets, after also debuting in France just last week.

In the three new markets the service costs EUR 7.99 after a 7-day free trial.

Content-wise Paramount+ is delivering original series and content from brands like CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Showtime, with upcoming series such as “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” and “1883,” the upcoming origin story of hit series “Yellowstone.” Paramount’s blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick” will also finally make its way to the streaming service this month, available December 22. It’s also taking a local approach to content with a lineup of German originals including Der Scheich (The Sheik) and “Spotlight,” a series about acting, dancing and singing students at the Berlin School of arts, among others.

Paramount Global had laid out plans for international growth this year, including rollouts in the U.K. and Ireland over the summer and plans to enter India next year.

"There is no doubt 2022 has been the year of global expansion for Paramount+. With the latest launch in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, and France last week, we are now streaming in key markets in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and soon in India,” said Marco Nobili, EVP and International GM of Paramount+, who was promoted in May to lead international expansion. “With our unbeatable content offering to entertain the entire family, deployed across such a vast footprint, we are well-positioned to continue our momentum in 2023."

Tied to its latest rollouts Paramount has a deal with Sky, which will also see Paramount+ launch on the TV provider’s platforms Thursday in Germany and Austria.

Through the deal, Sky subscribers that have Sky Cinema will get access to Paramount+ at no additional cost with the app launching on Sky Q. In French-speaking Switzerland, Paramount+ is set for exclusive distribution through a hard bundle with Canal+.

Paramount CEO Bob Bakish this week pointed to hard bundles with partners as delivering churn benefits.  

Speaking Tuesday at the UBS annual Global TMT investor conference, Bakish said Paramount+ in general continues to see great churn trajectory, with improvements quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year. He attributed that to both a steady stream of compelling content as well as partnerships.

He called out Walmart+, which recently included Paramount+ in its membership program, as well as Sky and Canal+ on the hard bundle side.

As those subscriber bases come in “they have very compelling churn characteristics, i.e. very low churn because they are really part of a tier,” Bakish said.

For November Paramount set company records “by double digits” on net subscriber additions, active users and total hours of content consumed globally, according to Bakish.

“And we now look at the fourth quarter as the biggest quarter in Paramount+ history. We feel very good about it,” he said. “And we are really proving that this is a cornerstone service for the world consumers, and we are going to continue to keep driving it forward.”

In the third quarter Paramount+ added 4.6 million subscribers, bringing its global base to 46 million.

While the fourth quarter is poised to be a standout for subscribers, Bakish also reiterated that the company continues to feel 2023 will be the year of peak streaming investment, meaning losses.

“At the same time, we will build a streaming business plan for only the top line and subscribers. We knew from day one that we need to turn this into a business, and we have focused on creating a business with TV media-like margins,” he noted. “We believe that our multi-platform asset portfolio is a real advantage here.”

And speaking to plans for profitability, Bakish said expansion in conjunction with partners helps drive that aim, calling out the deal with Sky as having benefits across ARPU, churn and marketing, with Sky taking on the latter.

“So that model of hard bundles, which I would argue we pioneered, and we continue to lean into, also has benefits and more broadly,” he noted, with Paramount not feeling the need to be totally owned and operated around the globe.

“We believe in the power partnership, including the potential for JV partnership,” he said, specifically citing its SkyShowtime joint venture with Comcast that’s up and operating, and is marking its own European expansion.

“Effectively, we split the cost of entering the markets and operating in the market. So that too creates a superior inflow for path to profitability,” the chief executive commented. “And some people have recently pulled back on some of their markets. We look at and say there’s extraordinary expansion opportunity. But again, we don’t have to do it alone.”

Paramount is also taking a partner approach to international expansion for its free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) service Pluto TV, which launched December 1 in Canada alongside Corus Entertainment.