Paramount mulls discontinuing Showtime, merging content with Paramount+ - report

Paramount might do away with its standalone Showtime streaming service and merge its content into Paramount+, per a Wall Street Journal report from Tuesday.

People familiar with the matter told WSJ discussions to discontinue Showtime are still in their early stages, but Paramount has broached the idea with at least one major pay TV partner.

Paramount last month integrated Showtime as an add-on within Paramount+, offering a promotional bundle price at $7.99 per month until October 2.

Showtime currently costs $10.99 monthly as a standalone service. It’s also available through various third-party distributors in the U.S., like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.

As of the second quarter, Paramount recorded 43.3 million subscribers for Paramount+. Though the company didn’t disclose its sub count for Showtime, Paramount said its subscriber count rose to nearly 64 million across its streaming direct-to-consumer services.

“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 Paramount Global spokesperson told WSJ.

Sources also told the outlet Paramount executives are discussing incentives they could offer cable and satellite companies to allow Showtime to merge with Paramount+.

News of Paramount possibly combining Showtime with Paramount+ comes as Warner Bros. Discovery prepares to launch a combined HBO Max and Discovery+ streaming service next year. Once that happens, both apps will no longer be available as standalone services.

Paramount+ meanwhile continues to expand its distribution. Walmart+ customers now have access to Paramount’s ad-supported plan at no extra cost to their retail subscription, as part of a recently announced bundle.

On the international front, Paramount+ in June launched in the U.K. and Ireland, and is set to arrive in Italy this week.

A selection of Showtime content will be included within SkyShowtime, Paramount and Comcast’s forthcoming streaming joint venture. SkyShowtime will launch on September 20 in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, eventually expanding into several other European countries.