“Cost Synergies” in Focus for Paramount as Fate of Stand-Alone Showtime App Is to Be Determined

“Cost Synergies” in Focus for Paramount as Fate of Stand-Alone Showtime App Is to Be Determined

Paramount Global won’t yet reveal the fate of its Showtime streaming app, but on Tuesday CEO Bob Bakish spoke to the company’s increasing focus on “unlocking cost synergies” between Showtime and Paramount. 

“We’re doing a set of work around Showtime, both on the network side and the streaming side, which is really about consolidation economics and unlocking cost synergies with the broader portfolio,” Bakish told investors at a UBS conference Tuesday. 

“It doesn’t make sense to run Showtime as a 100 percent stand-alone organization. Certainly, the brand is valuable; certainly, it stands for a certain type of programming with consumers, and it’s going to continue to do that, and we’ll lean into that. But we don’t have to do it as a stand-alone. We’re doing it as part of an integrated strategy, and that’s both true on the traditional television side and on the streaming,” he added.

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Asked by The Hollywood Reporter after the panel whether Showtime’s streaming service would be discontinued, Bakish pointed to the price bundle, which offers a discounted rate for the two services, and integrated streaming bundle, adding that “beyond that, we haven’t said.” 

In August, Paramount folded Showtime programming into the main Paramount+ app, so that if a user is subscribed to both services they can access all of their programming through a single user interface. The stand-alone Showtime app is also still available, but reports have circulated that Paramount has been considering shutting the stand-alone service and shifting its programming to Paramount+. 

During the panel, Bakish pointed to the recent success of George & Tammy, which was the most watched Showtime premiere ever.

He also spoke to further consolidation and cost-saving measures taking place at Paramount Global, following the merger of Viacom and CBS. 

“We are embarking on a set of initiatives, which we were planning on doing anyway, because they’re strategic, but we are definitely accelerating and using the current market as a catalyst,” Bakish said.  

In addition to work with Showtime, Bakish mentioned streamlining the ad sales side into one ad sales organization and a “single point of contact and leadership,” as well as looking at marketing expenses to “unlock some opportunity” and “globalizing” aspects of the company’s operations, which are on the ground in more than 30 markets. They’re also taking a look at the studio side. 

“We’re doing a bunch of work on the studio side, which isn’t about changing the creative facing capability of the studio, but it’s very much about creating support scale and associated economics,” he said.