Showtime merges with Paramount+

Paramount is officially combining its Showtime service with Paramount+ and plans to rebrand the cable channel to “Paramount+ with Showtime,” effective later this year.

As first reported by Variety, Paramount CEO Bob Bakish disclosed the network’s name change in a Monday staff memo.

“Now, with Showtime’s content integrated into our flagship streaming service, and select Paramount+ originals joining the linear offering, Paramount+ will become the definitive multiplatform brand in the streaming space — and the first of its kind to integrate streaming and linear content in this way,” Bakish wrote.

Paramount began bringing the two services together last summer, by allowing users to subscribe to and watch Showtime within the Paramount+ app. Shortly after that integration, The Wall Street Journal reported Paramount was thinking about discontinuing the standalone Showtime service.

Bakish added the merged services will better align Paramount’s domestic and international offerings, as Paramount+ already comes with Showtime in other countries. The service most recently rolled out in Austria, Germany and Switzerland and it will land in India sometime this year.

Showtime’s leadership won’t change, as Chris McCarthy will continue to oversee network operations for the linear channel, Bakish said. McCarthy took on his role in October, when former Showtime chief David Nevins announced he was leaving the company. Tom Ryan, head of Paramount Streaming, will oversee the streaming portion of the Paramount+-Showtime offering.

McCarthy wrote an additional internal memo, Variety reported, which delved into the benefits of merging Showtime with Paramount+. He said Showtime’s content appeals to “metro-minded viewers,” people who live in cities and prefer content with mature themes. Whereas Paramount+ targets more families and “general market audiences across the country.”

Showtime’s content library includes notable drama series “Dexter,” “Homeland,” “Yellowjackets” and “The Chi.” Paramount hasn’t provided a separate subscriber count for Showtime, but the company in Q3 reported its total direct-to-consumer subscriber base rose to nearly 67 million.

As for future content creation, McCarthy said Paramount will “divert investment away from areas that are underperforming and that account for less than 10% of our views.”

“We have already begun conversations with our production partners about what content makes sense moving forward and which shows have franchise potential,” he wrote.

Paramount is just the latest company to consolidate streaming services. Warner Bros. Discovery plans to launch its combined HBO Max-Discovery+ service this spring. The exact release date and pricing haven’t been disclosed, but reports have suggested the new service will be named “Max.”