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This is Why ViacomCBS Isn’t Moving Showtime to Paramount+

Stephanie Sengwe

Earlier this month, ViacomCBS announced they would be rebranding CBS All Access to Paramount+ in an effort to compete with the likes of Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max and Peacock. One of the more alluring points of the new service is the fact that it’s getting additional content when it relaunches in early 2021 expanding to 30,000+ TV episodes and movies from the company’s library.

Though Paramount+ will be pulling from across all of ViacomCBS’ arsenal, one subsidiary not included was Showtime. The exclusion caused critics to speculate, suggesting that perhaps ViacomCBS’ top brass didn’t have enough confidence in the premium service.

However, Showtime CEO, David Nevins stands by the network and its eponymous streaming service. “I think we’re a bit underestimated,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “We’re a pure-play content company. We have flexibility other people don’t have that gives us competitive advantage.”

When it comes down to the numbers, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish pushed back against the comparisons to HBO stating, “Showtime is not thought of as a leader in premium, but it is leading this year.”

Back in August, ViacomCBS announced that their paid streaming services, CBS All Access and Showtime, continue to grow rapidly. Their domestic streaming subscribers reached 16.2 million (Showtime & CBS All Access), up 74 percent year-over-year. Last quarter, both services were at a combined 13.5 million subscribers, up 50 percent year-over-year.

However, sources told WSJ that on its own, Showtime is at 27 million subscribers overall, with seven million of those funneling in from the streaming service.

Ahead of the switch to Paramount+ launch, ViacomCBS partnered with Apple for a premium bundle that offers CBS All Access and Showtime for $9.99 for Apple TV+ subscribers.

Showtimes continued growth can be attributed to their wide-ranging roster. In addition to getting a boost in viewers from staple shows such as “Homeland” and “Ray Donovan,” the service’s newer shows such as “Billions” and “The Chi” have also gained their own fan fare.

Critics have also been buzzing about the upcoming limited series “The Comey Rule” starring Jeff Daniels which debuts Sept. 27, as well as “Your Honor” starring Bryan Cranston coming later this year.

Showtime also houses pop culture phenom, “Desus & Mero” with more documentaries and nonfiction programming on deck.

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