Paramount+ starts European push

Paramount+, the premium streaming service formerly known as CBS All Access, officially crossed the Atlantic Wednesday with launches in the UK and Ireland.

The super-sized streaming service, which has big international expansion ambitions this year, is debuting with monthly and annual subscription plans. UK subs can sign up to Paramount+ for £6.99 ($8.58) per month or £69.90 ($85.75) per year, while Irish subs can choose between paying €7.99 ($8.42) per month or €79.90 ($84.17) per year.

With the ViacomCBS parent company now rebranded as Paramount Global, Paramount+ is staking its claim as a major global streaming player.  
(Source: ViacomCBS/Paramount)
With the ViacomCBS parent company now rebranded as Paramount Global, Paramount+ is staking its claim as a major global streaming player.
(Source: ViacomCBS/Paramount)

Paramount Global, the new brand name of the old ViacomCBS parent company, is offering free seven-day trials of Paramount+ in both regions.

Maria Kyriacou, president of Paramount Australia, Canada, Israel and UK, said the UK market offers much growth potential for Paramount+. "The UK is a really strong creative hub," she said in a written statement. "It's a country that has strong production capabilities and a lot of respect for what our writers and our actors and all of our talent can do around the world."

Blanketing the globe

The UK and Ireland launches are part of Paramount Global's broader drive to cover the globe with the Paramount+ service. Just last week, Paramount Global launched its streaming service in South Korea, marking the company’s first foray into the Asian market.

Plans call for service launches in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France later this year, followed by India, the Middle East and Africa in 2023. With these pending rollouts, company officials aim to join the streaming big leagues with Netflix, Disney, Amazon and Apple. Indeed, Paramount Global has a goal of snagging more than 100 million streaming subs worldwide by 2024, up from earlier guidance in the range of 65 million to 75 million subs.

As part of those ambitious expansion plans, Paramount Global intends to spend lavishly on new programming for the premium streaming service. Earlier this week the company announced a slate of new international original series, including Murder of God’s Banker, a four-part docuseries, and Marie Antoinette Serial Killer, a fantasy horror thriller.

"As the service continues to expand internationally, there’s a great opportunity for content to travel globally, opening up a world of opportunities for talent and creators as we plan to commission 150 international originals by 2025, while delivering incredible value to subscribers on Paramount+," Marco Nobili, EVP and international general manager of Paramount+, said in a written statement.

Skeptics still abound

Market analysts remain skeptical about Paramount Global's plans, citing its heavy losses and the increasingly competitive global streaming market. Losses related to the direct-to-consumer (DTC) business at Paramount Global are expected to increase from $1 billion in 2021, to $1.5 billion in 2022, and then soar even higher in 2023. Moreover, Paramount Global expects its DTC-related expenses to balloon from about $2.2 billion in 2021, to about $6 billion in 2024.

Yet, at the same time, Paramount+ is growing steadily. The service added 7.3 million subs in Q4 2021, bringing its year-end grand total to 32.8 million. It then added another 6.8 million subs in Q1 2022, boosting its total to 39.6 million.

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— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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