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Paramount CEO: SHOWTIME to Stay Standalone Streamer, at Least for Now

Stephen Silver

Bob Bakish, the CEO of Paramount Global, was among the top media industry executives to participate in this week’s Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology Conference in San Francisco. In his remarks, Bakish mostly denied recently floated rumors that the company is preparing to fold its SHOWTIME streaming service into the company’s flagship Paramount+ streamer.

When asked about the media reports about an even fuller Paramount+/Showtime merger, Bakish laid out recent changes but denied that the end of SHOWTIME is imminent.

“Two weeks ago, we actually took the next step in that and said, ‘Well, we’ll give you an option to see the Showtime product inside the Paramount+ app.’ So the price bundle was two apps; you had to switch between,” he said. “Not the greatest consumer experience. The new product is the same app; you want Paramount+ and you want SHOWTIME, you pay a little extra and you get it. It’s the next step. It’s the product I use, and it’s [a] nice fleshing out of Paramount+.”

However, Bakish essentially confirmed the recent media reports that there had been discussions about sunsetting the SHOWTIME streamer, but insisted that those conversations were just hypotheticals as the company did its due diligence on the best options for all of its streaming services moving forward.

“The media report that you referred to is a rumor coming out of one of our distribution conversations that quite frankly if we weren’t having that conversation, you should fire all of us because we should have that conversation,” the CEO said. “It’s not like we’ve made a decision that we’re going to do something on such and such a date. But I guarantee you, media will continue to evolve; I guarantee you our product line will continue to evolve, it will get better. And I guarantee you, we will continue to work with distributors and provide value to them such that they benefit.”

Bakish also discussed the usual 45-day window for Paramount movies to go from cinemas to streaming, and why “Top Gun: Maverick” has not been subject to that time table.

“We’ve adopted a strategy where we say, ‘Look, we fundamentally believe in theatrical, but we also believe in 45-day fast follow,’” he said. “We think that’s a sweet spot from a content ROI standpoint … There really is no theatrical market after even less than 45 days. ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ aside, that is a true powerhouse.”

Bakish reiterated previous reports that the fourth quarter of this year “is going to be capped” with the arrival of the “Top Gun: Maverick” on Paramount+.

Paramount Plus

Paramount+ is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 40,000+ TV show episodes from BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and more. The lineup includes “1883,” “Tulsa King,” “Star Trek: Discovery,” Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants,” and MTV’s “Laguna Beach.” From well-loved franchises to compelling originals, Paramount+ offers a great library worth streaming. Live NFL games are included. The service also offers the option to watch your live CBS affiliate.

Subscribers can choose between the Essentials Plan (which includes ads) for $4.99/month, or go commercial-free with the Premium Plan for $9.99/month. Subscribers can add Showtime to either plan for an additional fee.

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 lineup, 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.

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 service was previously called CBS All Access.

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