Paramount Global seeks dance partner for Paramount+ streaming service – report

Warner Bros. Discovery has expressed interest in striking a deal centered on Paramount+, Paramount Global's money-losing streaming service, CNBC reported.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

July 1, 2024

2 Min Read
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Paramount Global is in talks with other media and entertainment companies about ways to merge with its money-losing Paramount+ streaming service, CNBC reported Monday.

Executives at Paramount are trying to determine whether it might make sense for Paramount+ to be merged with another company that has streaming services and assets and potentially be co-owned, CNBC said citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), which launched the Max streaming service last May by combining the content of HBO Max and Discovery+, has expressed interest in doing a deal, hoping it can help it better compete with Netflix and Disney's stable of premium streaming services, the report added.

Paramount has also looked into a partnership with a technology platform, CNBC said, citing a transcript of co-CEO Chris McCarthy at an employee town hall held June 25.

In February, The Wall Street Journal reported that Comcast and Paramount Global discussed forming a streaming partnership or joint venture that seemingly would be in response to a new sports streaming bundle from ESPN, Fox and WBD called Venu Sports that's slated to launch this fall. Back in 2021, Comcast, which owns the Peacock streaming service through its NBCUniversal unit, and ViacomCBS (now part of Paramount Global) partnered on SkyShowtime, a streaming service for parts of Europe that features content from both companies.

Building scale and reducing churn

In addition to getting losses from Paramount+ off Paramount Global's books, the general idea behind combining Paramount+ with a partner is to build more scale into a resulting streaming business while also keeping subscriber churn in check, according to CNBC.

Paramount added about 3.7 million Paramount+ subs in Q1 2024, ending the period with 71 million. The company's streaming business also posted a loss of $286 million, narrowed from a year-ago loss of $511 million. Paramount recently raised pricing on Paramount+ amid efforts to turn streaming into a profitable business.

CNBC's report arrives as Paramount seeks out ways to turn its business around. Last month, National Amusements, the controlling shareholder of Paramount owned by Shari Redstone, reportedly halted merger talks with Skydance, David Ellison's production company.

Update: The New York Times reported Monday that Barry Diller, a former Paramount Pictures exec, has stepped up to explore a bid for Paramount Global. IAC, the Diller-run company that operates a large portfolio of digital brands and services, has signed nondisclosure agreements with National Amusements, the pub added.

At the aforementioned June 25 town hall with the co-CEOs of Paramount – McCarthy, the president and CEO, Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks; George Cheeks, president and CEO of CBS; and Brian Robbins, president and CEO of Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon – it was also reportedly revealed that the company had hired bankers to assist the company in a potential sale of assets to help the company pay down debt.

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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