Paramount’s merging its Paramount Plus streaming service and premium Showtime channel, as first reported by The Hollywood Reporter. In an internal memo, CEO Bob Bakish announced the company’s rebranding its Showtime channel as Paramount Plus with Showtime.
Paramount confirmed the change in a post on Twitter, noting that the merger is “the natural next step in our evolution.” The company’s also planning to carry over “select” original content from Paramount Plus to the TV network, which could include shows like Halo and Yellowstone spinoff 1923.
Bakish says the move “brings uncertainty for the teams working on these brands and businesses” and that he’ll share more details in “the coming weeks.”
In addition to the possibility of layoffs, Deadline reports that some shows like Three Women (which was never aired), Let the Right One In, and American Gigolo could get axed as part of the consolidation. The specifics of what will happen to existing episodes of each series are unclear, but the report says that titles pulled from Showtime will be made available to take elsewhere.
As part of the change, the $9.99 per month premium Paramount Plus plan will adopt the same Paramount with Showtime moniker. It’s unclear how much the new tier will cost, as Paramount Plus already offers bundled plans with Showtime. While the essential plan with Showtime currently costs $11.99 per month, the premium plan with Showtime and local CBS networks costs $14.99 per month.
Paramount spokesperson Karen Shosfy tells The Verge that the company will announce new pricing information in the coming weeks.
“Now, with Showtime’s content integrated into our flagship streaming service, and select Paramount+ originals joining the linear offering, Paramount+ will become the definitive multiplatform brand in the streaming space — and the first of its kind to integrate streaming and linear content in this way,” Bakish says in the memo.
The move doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as Paramount started offering Paramount Plus and Showtime in a single app last August, and rumors about the change have been floating around for months. In November, Paramount chief financial officer Naveen Chopra also hinted at a potential price increase for Paramount Plus, citing rising subscription prices among “a number of competing services,” like Hulu, Disney Plus, and Netflix. The Showtime merge may be one way to squeeze subscribers.
You can read the full memo from Bakish below:
Almost one year ago, we announced that ViacomCBS would become Paramount — harnessing the power of our combined portfolio to become one, integrated company. Since then, I have been tremendously proud of the many ways we have worked together across platforms, brands, and continents to consistently deliver as global leaders in the future of entertainment.
In that same spirit, I’m thrilled to share the next step in our company’s evolution. Today, we’re announcing that we will be fully integrating SHOWTIME into Paramount+ across both streaming and linear platforms later this year — providing even more popular franchises and hit originals for viewers to enjoy. To reflect this change, both our premium streaming tier on Paramount+ and the SHOWTIME linear network will become “Paramount+ with SHOWTIME” in the U.S.
SHOWTIME has captivated audiences for decades with ambitious original series that defined premium content and fandom. Its name will always stand for critically acclaimed, groundbreaking entertainment and creative excellence. Now, with SHOWTIME’s content integrated into our flagship streaming service, and select Paramount+ originals joining the linear offering, Paramount+ will become the definitive multiplatform brand in the streaming space — and the first of its kind to integrate streaming and linear content in this way.
This new combined offering demonstrates how we can leverage our entire collection of content to drive deeper connections with consumers and greater value for our distribution partners. This change will also drive stronger alignment across our domestic and international Paramount+ offerings, as international Paramount+ already includes Showtime content. And, very importantly, this integration will unlock operational efficiencies and financial benefits across our broader portfolio.
Chris McCarthy will continue to lead the SHOWTIME studio and oversee network operations for the linear channel. In tandem, he will work closely with Tom Ryan, who will oversee the “Paramount+ with SHOWTIME” streaming business.
While we are confident this is the right move for our company, our consumers, and our partners, we know this change brings uncertainty for the teams working on these brands and businesses. We are committed to being as transparent and thoughtful as possible throughout this process, and we expect to share additional details in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, I would ask for your continued focus. Because of your hard work, dedication and collaboration, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME is set up for success. Thank you, as always, for all that you do.