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Paramount+ Immediately Dropping SHOWTIME Bundle Cost, Despite Price Increase Planned for Summer

Matt Tamanini

On the conference call following the release of its fourth-quarter 2022 earnings report, Paramount Global confirmed details about a planned price increase for subscribers to Paramount+ that would coincide with the previously announced integration of SHOWTIME into the company’s flagship streaming service.

Subscribers to the ad-supported Essentials tier of Paramount+ will see a $1 monthly increase from $4.99 to $5.99, while Premium plan customers will pay an extra $2 per month when the Showtime programming is completely folded into the service. The monthly rate will go from $9.99 to $11.99 when the tier (and oddly the cable network itself) is officially rebranded as “Paramount+ with SHOWTIME.” While Paramount execs did not give a specific date for the changes, they did confirm that they will go into effect in “early Q3” of 2022; so likely sometime in July or August.

So, it was curious when subscribers to the Paramount+ and SHOWTIME bundle began receiving emails from the streamer on Thursday, just hours after the price increase was announced, informing them that their monthly fees would decrease on their next billing cycle.

The message read, “Great news! As of 2/16/23, the price of your Paramount+ Premium with SHOWTIME® plan has DECREASED, from $14.99/month or $149.99/year, to $11.99/month or $119.99/year. This is the new, low price for the Premium with SHOWTIME® plan. The pricing change will go into effect at the start of your next billing cycle.”

That means that customers who had been paying the additional $5 to have both services available in the Paramount+ app will see their monthly or annual bills go down to meet the current price of the standalone Premium plan. Presumably, those same customers will eventually see their prices go back up when the price increase goes into effect in Q4, but for now, monthly subscribers will see their bills decrease.

The same cannot technically be said for the annual customers. Since the Paramount+ and SHOWTIME bundling option did not become available until late August, even the earliest adopters will likely not see the full price reduction before the announced rate increases take effect this summer. However, there will presumably be a corresponding price adjustment down to the yet-to-be-announced annual equivalent of the $11.99 per month price increase.

It is curious that Paramount is opting to decrease the price for the bundled service now, rather than waiting until the company’s full plans to merge the services and content libraries are complete. Perhaps this indicates that company executives plan to continue to remove content ahead of the integration — as they did with Showtime series “Kidding,” “American Gigolo,” “On Becoming a God in Central Florida” and more, and Paramount+ shows including Jordan Peele’s “Twilight Zone” reboot, Michael Chiklis’ “Coyote,” Kate Beckinsale’s “Guilty Party,” and others.

If by routinely removing series from the services in the leadup to the merger, Paramount was concerned about turning people off and risking churn, surprising them with an unexpected price decrease — temporary as it might be — could be enough to keep people subscribed into summer.

(a previous version of this article had the upcoming price increase incorrect)

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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