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Paramount+ and Showtime to Remain Prime Video Channels (For Now)

When asked about being the largest remaining provider of Prime video channels, CEO of ViacomCBS, Robert Bakish, said today in the company’s third-quarter earnings call with investors and journalists that they, “continue to believe in broad and ubiquitous distribution as a path to scale, and that includes wholesale relationships including [Amazon].”

HBO Max lost 5 million subscribers after the channel was removed from Prime Video. The inability to craft a direct relationship with their own customer base and Amazon’s 30% cut of subscription revenues were some of the reasons HBO remained confident in their decision to leave.

And their decision looks to be a fruitful one. HBO Max is the most downloaded streaming app in the U.S. for the year. And the company recently boasted nearly 70 million global subscribers.

Bakish acknowledged the negative aspects of ViacomCBS’s relationship with Amazon saying, “There’s obviously trade-offs in terms of a wholesale versus a direct relationship. Those trade-offs tend to be around requests for certain types of exclusivity, data access, margin. So it’s not a black-and-white question.”

In ViacomCBS and HBO’s strategy, Amazon channels are used as an effective on-ramp for the young streaming services to gain access to a wider audience, but the relationship seems to sour over time as streaming services grow increasingly envious of Amazon’s share of data and revenue.

Once services like HBO Max and Paramount+ have reached the market and are able to retain those customers in the long term without Amazon, there isn’t an economic reason to stay on Amazon’s platform. HBO Max reached that escape velocity. Paramount+ is still trying to grow.

“Providing access to the largest total addressable market” is ViacomCBS’s priority at this time, said Bakish, but as Paramount+ continues to gain a foothold the question is, how long will Amazon be worth the trouble?

Addressing this exact concern, Bakish believes “it’s something we’re going to continue to evaluate over time as we scale. But, but we see value to these distribution channels today.”

In response to these concerns, there may be evidence that Amazon is changing to be more forthright with their data.


SHOWTIME offers a subscription video streaming service that gives access to content on Showtime without the need of a cable subscription. With your subscription, you’ll get access to all of their current originals like Billions, Shameless, Homeland, Ray Donovan, Black Monday, and On Becoming a God in Central Florida.

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SHOWTIME also has new-release films from CBS Films, Amblin Partners, and IFC Films, which appear on the streaming service 7-8 months after they are in theaters. Every month they also have hundreds of additional older movies from major movie studios.

You can subscribe for US$10.99 a month either directly from SHOWTIME, or through Amazon Prime Video Channels, Apple TV Channels, or Roku Premium Subscriptions.

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