Paramount has announced the official launch date for Paramount+ With Showtime, and it is three months earlier than originally planned.
The new, ad-free streamer merging Showtime and Paramount content will launch June 27. Previously, Paramount had indicated that the launch would occur at the end of September.
The existing, separate Showtime streamer is still set to be phased out by the end of this year, at which time the brands’ linear offerings will also be merged and rebranded to Paramount+ With Showtime.
Although the date had leaked out a few days ago because of an email sent by Paramount to Showtime subscribers who pay via Apple, Paramount’s accelerated launch timetable was likely influenced by the May 23 launch of Warner Bros. Discovery’s own merged streamer, Max—as well as eagerness to get the show on the road, having lost $1.7 billion in Q1 alone due mostly to the costs of merger the streamers. (Disney’s planned launch of a combined Disney+/Hulu streaming option later this year likely also provided impetus.)
As previously revealed, Paramount+ With Showtime will cost $11.99 — $2 more than the current standalone Paramount+ no-ads version, but the same as a the currently offered bundle of Paramount+ with ads (Essential) and Showtime.
And in a little-noted strategic twist, subscribers currently paying $14.99 for a bundle of separate Paramount+ and Showtime streamers will actually see $3 in savings per month when they are transitioned to the merged streamer. While it’s not clear how many subscribers are on that bundle, you can bet that they won’t be defecting anytime soon. Retaining and growing profitable, premium-level subscribers is a key mission for the merged streamer.
At the same time, the price of the ad-supported Paramount+ Essential plan will be raised by $1, to $5.99 per month — probably not a deal breaker for most current users, even in a time of escalating inflation.
The merged streamer will benefit from aggressive expansions of lucrative franchises.
Spinoffs of Showtime’s “Billions” and “Dexter” are already in the works, and spinoffs of “Nurse Jackie” and “Weeds” are reportedly in early development.
Showtime also brings originals including “Yellowjackets,” “Your Honor,” and “George & Tammy” along with documentaries and nonfiction series such as “We Need to Talk About Cosby” and “Couples Therapy.”
The Paramount+ side’s franchise offerings include the rapidly expanding “Taylor Sheridan universe” built on “Yellowstone,” Star Trek and SpongeBob Squarepants, plus films including “Top Gun” and “Scream,” and archival series including “PAW Patrol” and “NCIS.” Paramount+ also brings sports and live events into the mix, including the NFL through CBS stations and UEFA Champions League matches.
“By integrating the Showtime premium and critically acclaimed portfolio with the service’s already broad and popular slate, all at a competitive price, we will solidify Paramount+ as a cornerstone in streaming,” Tom Ryan, president & CEO of Paramount Streaming, said in the announcement.
With combined products from three majors going head-to-head this year, and all three under intense pressure to show profits, rather than subscriber volume growth alone, quarterly reports are going to generate more scrutiny than ever.