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Report: Paramount+ Looking to Add BET+ In-App Bundle to Continue Platform’s Growth

David Satin

Ahead of its third-quarter earnings call on Thursday, Paramount executives have to feel good about what they’ve accomplished with their streaming services multiple subscription and ad-supported streaming services, even if Wall Street isn’t nearly as excited. Through the first half of this year, Paramount+ was the fastest-growing streaming service in the United States in 2022, but stock prices have dropped nearly 50% in recent months. A new article from Bloomberg's Lucas Shaw explores just how Paramount Global has grown its streaming business and what it might do to deliver an even better product moving forward.

As of the second quarter, the company’s flagship streamer Paramount+ had 43 million subscribers; though that number is still far behind the 223 million that Netflix recently reported, Paramount+ grew by a relatively impressive 3.4 million subscribers between Q1 and Q2. By comparison, Netflix only picked up 2.4 million global subscribers between Q2 and Q3.

Paramount+’s subscriber base is also set for a potential major expansion thanks to a deal struck over the summer in which every Walmart+ customer now has free access to the ad-supported tier of Paramount+. A Morgan Stanley survey from May estimated that Walmart+ had 16 million subscribers, so in the unlikely situation that all of them opt into the service, that would bring Paramount+’s new total to nearly 60 million, even before any future growth for either subscription service is accounted for.

Unfortunately for Paramount, however, all of this growth has not translated into immediate financial windfalls. In fact, the company’s streaming services have lost a combined total of over $900 million this year, according to Bloomberg. The company makes up that revenue from advertising on its linear networks, but with viewers cutting the cord in droves, that might not be a viable solution for much longer.

That conundrum partly explains why Paramount has been taking a drubbing in the marketplace over the last year. Since the start of 2021, Paramount’s stock price has dipped 51%, and investors are most concerned that the company shows a viable path toward profitability. Many believe that the best way forward would be for Paramount+ to combine with a service like HBO Max or Peacock if it really wants to compete with the likes of Netflix.

But for now, Paramount is not focused on any potential mergers or acquisitions. Instead, Bloomberg reports that Paramount CEO Bob Bakish is planning to make it easier for customers to access all of the content currently available across the company’s streaming platforms. Similar to what the company has done with SHOWTIME, Bakish is looking to make Paramount’s BET+ streamer available inside the Paramount+ app. Under the plan, BET+ would remain a standalone platform, but customers would have the option to bundle it with Paramount+.

Paramount is unlikely to make any drastic moves, such as a sale to another company or the purchase of more streaming platforms, until its stock price rises. Until then, expect Bakish to stay the course with his approach to improving Paramount+.

“The strategy we have is indisputably working,” Bakish said. “We’re a hell of a lot bigger than people thought we’d be a year ago.”

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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