Paramount Global rejected a $3-billion offer
to buy Showtime from one of its former executives earlier this year — and it’s not the first time the company has declined unsolicited offers for the premium streaming and cable network.
The latest unsolicited offer came from David Nevins — formerly chairman and CEO of Paramount Premium Group, who also oversaw scripted content for Showtime and other networks — with backing from private equity firm General Atlantic, according to a Wall Street Journal report based on unnamed sources.
Previously rejected offers to buy Showtime in recent years have come from Lionsgate Entertainment, which wanted to merge it with its Starz movie network, and from former Paramount executive Mark Greenberg and another PE firm, according to WSJ. The latter offer could have gone as high as $6 billion.
Paramount instead proceeded with a plan to integrate Showtime into its Paramount+ streaming service, creating both a premium streaming tier and a multiplex movie network dubbed Paramount+ with Showtime later this year. The streaming service will be priced at $12 per month — up $2 from the standalone Paramount+ ad-free product. The standalone Showtime app will be phased out.
Speaking Tuesday at a Deutsche Bank investor event, Paramount CFO Naveen Chopra said the strategy will allow for better exploiting Showtime's content franchises by expanding them and giving them broader distribution. Marketing already popular franchises is also much more efficient on the marketing front than building interest in new content, he pointed out.
“What we will be able to do with franchises like ‘Dexter,’ ‘Billions,’ ‘Yellow Jackets’ and thinking about we take some of the historical Showtime audiences and create new franchises for them, I think is going to be really exciting,” Chopra said.
Paramount is also confident that adding Showtime's content will help attract new subscribers and increase retention, even with the higher price of the combined streamer, he said. Since consumers were given the option, starting last year, to subscribe to the Showtime app through Paramount+, a growing percentage of new subscribers have been doing so — a positive sign that consumers are willing to pay for the combined content, Chopra reported.