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Could Peacock, Paramount+ Stream Together Internationally? ViacomCBS, Comcast Bosses Sit Down For Talks

Michael King

The heads of both Comcast and ViacomCBS have been meeting in recent weeks to discuss a possible streaming partnership, at least internationally, according to persons familiar with the situation.

According to the Wall Street Journal, at a New York meeting around the end of June, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and ViacomCBS Chair Shari Redstone, along with ViacomCBS CEO Robert Bakish, discussed a variety of possible partnership opportunities that would allow the two companies to enter markets outside the United States together.

The talks have come, according to the WSJ, as both Comcast and ViacomCBS are preparing to broaden their international streaming footprints.

In May, ViacomCBS said that Paramount+, which is set to launch next month in Australia, would be available in 45 markets by 2022.

According to Roberts, Comcast is looking at crafting partnerships with local programmers and distributors in overseas markets in an effort to expand Peacock, the service launched by its NBCUniversal division in the United States. Comcast’s Sky unit in Europe also has a streaming division of its own.

Peacock

Peacock is a subscription video streaming service from NBCUniversal that gives access to up to 15,000 hours of content including original shows, blockbuster movies, and classic television series.

It will include news, entertainment, sports, late-night, and reality from various NBCU properties including NBC, Bravo, and E!.

Just like other streaming services, Peacock will have their own original series including reboots of Save By The Bell, Punky Brewster, and Battlestar Galactica. They also have shows like Rutherford Falls (Ed Helms), Dr. Death (Alec Baldwin), and a behind-the-scenes docs-series about Saturday Night Live.

The company has acquired the rights to many classic shows like the entire Dick Wolf library including Law & Order and Chicago Fire, Parks and Recreation, and The Office.

The service will also feature blockbusters and critically-acclaimed films from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination and content acquired from Hollywood’s biggest studios.

While some Wall Street analysts said that ViacomCBS and Comcast have been potential merger candidates at some point, according to the Journal, Roberts has been eyeing potential acquisition targets for Comcast — including ViacomCBS. The Journal said that Roberts has told people that he does not feel the need to seek a merger.

The WSJ says both Comcast and ViacomCBS were relative latecomers to the streaming game in relation to their competitors and are trying to make up for lost ground both in the United States and internationally.

Peacock has built up a significant audience for ad-supported programming, but continues to grow its subscription business subtantially, according to sources close to the company. In late April, Comcast said Peacock had 42 million sign-ups. According to the Journal, less than 10 million people had paid for the service as of late May.

Paramount Plus

Paramount+ is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 12,000+ TV show episodes including originals Star Trek: Discovery, Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants, and MTV’s Laguna Beach. Meet captivating characters, catch up on your favorite sport, explore new worlds in the growing collection of Paramount+.

Previously under the name ‘CBS All Access,’ Subscribers can choose between their Essentials Plan (which includes ads) for $4.99/month, or go commercial-free with their Premium Plan for $9.99/month.

With their Premium Plan, in addition to not having ads, you will also get access to your local CBS affiliate to stream your local news, prime-time line-up, and late-night. You will also be able to download offline and watch select shows in 4K.

With the lower cost “Essential” plan, you will still be able to watch live NFL games, Champions League, and national news – but you will no longer get your local CBS affiliate like the old ad-supported plan.

With their new app, enjoy advanced recommendations, curated homepages, and new content categories while still being able to stream major live sports like NFL, College Football, College Basketball. Sports fans will also appreciate the service’s inclusion of NFL on CBS, PGA Tour, along with every match of UEFA Champions League and Serie A.

The $4.99 premium version of Peacock is is free for Comcast pay-TV and broadband subscribers and is also available to Cox Cable subscribers.

A potential international partnership with ViacomCBS could involve both Peacock and Sky, according to the WSJ report.

ViacomCBS said in May the company has 35.9 to its subscripion-based streaming services — Paramount+, Showtime, and [BET+]. Its ad-supported Pluto TV streaming service has 49.5 million active users monthly with a total streaming revenue that reached $816 million in the third quarter, according to the Journal.

The Journal said that before ViacomCBS launched Paramount+ earlier this year, Comcast proposed the idea of the two companies joining forces on streaming. ViacomCBS was not interested at the time.

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