Paramount+ is still seeking a profit. You know what could maybe speed that up even more than price hikes and subscriber growth? Other companies’ streamers.
While we’re still in the thick of the streaming wars today, it may not be long before rivals team up to attract — and retain — subscribers. During an investor conference in May, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said he was open to the idea. Count Paramount Global boss Bob Bakish, fresh off integrating his Showtime into his Paramount+, in.
In response to an analyst’s question during his company’s Q2 2023 earnings call, Bakish raised his hand to partner with another platform. He stopped short of commenting on any specific partnerships or timing on whether such a bundle option could come to subscribers.
“We’ve been believers in bundling for a long time. Bundling has been one of the tried and true methods of value creation in media, and certainly as we entered the streaming space, bundling is part of our strategy,” he said Monday. “We’re continuing to look at incremental opportunities in this regard, and the only thing we know for sure is it will be a growing part of what we’re doing.”
Bakish referenced some smaller bundling examples the company has tried in the past, like where Paramount+ content was included as part of a “hard bundle” with an MVPD (multichannel video programming distributor) subscription. Internationally that’s been done with both Sky, Canal, and others. Paramount+ is also the video service inside of Walmart+. Before Paramount+ pretty much just absorbed Showtime, the two were bundled together.
Beyond the reduction of churn, bundling “gives you access to consumer connections” that other streamers have, Bakish continued, which could expand one’s market and revenue opportunity. He thinks a bundle with competitors with be an “attractive” marketing tool as well.
Like Zaslav, Bakish knows a thing or two about bundling. It was not long ago that Paramount Global was still called ViacomCBS; the Viacom cable-channel bundle is still hanging on by a thread in the crumbling linear-television landscape.
Zaslav was considered the king of the cable bundle when he was Discovery, Inc. chief. He warned in May that if the studios don’t bundle their products themselves, then tech companies will one day do it to them. Some versions of this already exist. Amazon Prime Video Channels currently offers a bundle of Lionsgate’s Starz with its own MGM+. Peacock has tried and failed to find a viable bundling partner.
Bakish, who says he is currently focused on improving his Paramount+ reach and revenue without outside help, reiterated on Monday that the streamer should turn a profit next year. In Q2, Paramount+ added 700,000 subscribers to reach about 61 million global subs.