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Showtime Merger With Paramount+ May Not Sit Well With Cable Operators

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The news that Paramount
PARA

PARA

PARAMOUNT
Global is considering shutting down its $1
1
0.99/month Showtime streaming service and port the content over to its Paramount+ service likely won’t sit well with cable and satellite operators without significant compensation.

The reason: “cord cutting,” which is effectively canceling your subscription to cable or satellite and moving to only watching video online, and “cord shaving,” which is moving from an expensive multichannel package to a cheaper one, are becoming extremely prevalent.

Multichannel operators have been bleeding video subscribers for years, and making all of the Showtime content available to Paramount+ subscribers will likely lead to more video subscribers cutting the cord and moving all of their TV
TV
viewing to streaming services.

Premium services like HBO
HBO
and Showtime have taken a big hit, losing roughly half of their subscribers over the past five years. Cable and satellite operators have also been hit hard, with satellite subscribers falling in half over the last five years, while total multichannel video subscriptions from cable, telco and satellite subscribers losing more than one-third of their base, a decline of more than 30
30
million households.

Clearly, there are too many streaming services currently out there and some of them have to fail. However, management at Paramount are going to have a difficult time pulling this merger off. Essentially, they need to meet with every single cable and satellite operator where Showtime is carried and renegotiate their contract.

Walt Disney’s
DIS

DSN
strategy of bundling Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+
ESPN
for $13.99/month has been extremely successful and Paramount+ has a similar product with Paramount+ and Showtime bundled together at a discounted price. However, stand-alone independent services like FuboTV which has just over 1 million subscribers will have a more difficult time competing in an increasingly crowded online video market.

Paramount+ subscriber numbers will increase significantly this year as it recently cut a deal with WalMart to offer the service for free to WalMart+ subscribers. Walmart
WMT
+, offered for $12.95/month or $98/year, has perks like free shipping and delivery, discounts on fuel, rewards, but had no video component. In addition, the company has announced it will air Top Gun: Maverick
MAVERICK
on Paramount+ in the fourth quarter, which will likely attract new subscribers.

“Everywhere that movie shows up, it crushes it including, by the way, right now in home entertainment where it’s setting new records,” Bakish said.

Warner Bros
BROS
. Discovery is planning on merging its Discovery+ service with HBO Max
MAX3
so Paramount Global is taking a page from their playbook. However, this strategy may create sticker shock for some consumers who are currently only subscribing to Discovery+ or Paramount+ as the monthly price tag will go up significantly when the premium services are merged.

Paramount+ subscriber numbers will increase significantly this year as it recently cut a deal with WalMart to offer the service for free to WalMart+ subscribers. Walmart+, offered for $12.95/month or $98/year, has perks like free shipping and delivery, discounts on fuel, rewards, but had no video component. In addition, the company has announced it will air Top Gun: Maverick on Paramount+ in the fourth quarter, which will likely attract new subscribers.

“Everywhere that movie shows up, it crushes it including, by the way, right now in home entertainment where it’s setting new records,” Bakish said.

Warner Bros. Discovery is planning on merging its Discovery+ service with HBO Max so Paramount Global is taking a page from their playbook. However, this strategy may create sticker shock for some consumers who are currently only subscribing to Discovery+ or Paramount+ as the monthly price tag will go up significantly when the premium services are merged.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Cornucopia conference on September 14, Paramount Global CEO
CEO
Bob Bakish said, “The media report that you refer 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.”



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