Paramount's Bakish On Sports-Alone Program Streaming: 'Broad Is Better'

Responding to the major news of a new sports-focused streaming service through a joint venture of its main competitors, Bob Bakish, chief executive officer of Paramount Global, believes a “broad” programming strategy that includes sports works best.

“If you are the sports consumer on Paramount+, 90% of their engagement is with non-sports programming,” says Bakish, speaking to CNBC on Friday. “So sports is a great vehicle for bringing people in and engaging them."

He adds: “We’ve looked at sports-only plays including on digital and on a stand-alone basis with partners. But we continue to believe broad is better.”

Earlier this week,  Walt Disney’s ESPN, Fox Corp. and Warner Bros. Discovery announced a new sports streaming service where consumers can access all linear TV networks that carry sports programming via a sport streaming app. Industry estimates are that monthly consumer pricing for that product will be around $40 a month.



When asked whether this new service will accelerate cord-cutting of the traditional multi-network linear TV ‘bundle’ package, Bakish said: 

“There are lots of choices in the bundle and off-bundle. We continue to be suppliers to the [pay TV distributors]. We are not only providing linear feeds but streaming product. So, it’ll be part of the equation.”

Late last year, Charter Communications inked a deal with Walt Disney allowing Charter to distribute in its bundle with stand-along streaming services -- Disney+ and ESPN+, as well as a forthcoming full cable TV network-version of ESPN. 

CNBC asked whether Paramount Global might consider similar deals. Paramount has negotiations upcoming with Charter and Dish Network.

“We have evolved our product line with the industry,” says Bakish. “These negotiations aren’t getting any simpler but we continue to get business done.”

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