Primordial makes a major change to its linear and streaming businesses, merging Paramount+ and Show time in both areas.
As part of the changes, executives warned of likely layoffs and scheduling changes to follow in the coming weeks.
Paramount CEO Bob Bakish announced the move in a memo to staff on Monday afternoon, confirming rumors which had been smoldering for some time.
For starters, Showtime’s linear pay-TV channel and the premium tier of Paramount+ will be rebranded as Paramount+ with Showtime, with Chris McCarthy heading the Showtime studio and linear channel, and Tom Ryan overseeing the streaming business.
Bakish added that the changes will also “unlock operational efficiency and financial benefits” for the company.
“While we are confident this is the right decision for our business, our consumers and our partners, we know this change brings uncertainty to the teams working on these brands and businesses,” Bakish wrote. “We are committed to being as transparent and thoughtful as possible throughout this process, and we plan to share additional details in the coming weeks.”
In other words, there will be cuts associated with the merger, with details yet to be determined.
Other changes, like pricing and the account merge plan for people with Showtime and Paramount+, will also be coming in the coming weeks.
Another area that will see notable changes is programming.
In his own memo, McCarthy touted the “complementary” ratings of Showtime and Paramount+, while adding that the company plans to look at shows closely associated with Showtime’s “brand strengths and content filters,” calling programs like yellow jackets, Billions, Dexter and The Chi.
“To do this, we will divert investment from underperforming areas that represent less than 10% of our views,” McCarthy wrote. “We’ve already started conversations with our production partners about what content makes sense moving forward and what shows have franchise potential.”
So Showtime shows that aren’t considered essential to those strengths can get the boot. Monday, the first 3 shows to face the ax were revealed by the channelwith scripted dramas Leave the one on the right in and american gigolo canceled and the Shailene Woodley-directed adaptation of three women no longer advances on the premium cable network. This latest series, whose production has already ended, is being purchased in other outlets.
The change in business strategy comes as Paramount looks to create a stronger hand in streaming as it tries to compete with Netflix, Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery.
WBD, for example, has already merged linear channel HBO with its broader streaming offering, and will bring Discovery programming later this year. Showtime, with its more premium sensibility, will likely play a similar role at Paramount+.
Last year, Paramount added Showtime to Paramount+ in a discount bundle, while separating the Showtime linear app and the channel. The new structure merges the two entirely.
Bakish’s note is below:
Almost a year ago, we announced that ViacomCBS would become Paramount, harnessing the power of our combined portfolio to become one integrated company. Since then, I’ve been extremely proud of the many ways we’ve worked together across platforms, brands and continents to consistently be global leaders in the future of entertainment.
In the same spirit, I am delighted to share the next step in the evolution of our company. Today, we’re announcing that we will fully integrate SHOWTIME into Paramount+ on streaming and linear platforms later this year, bringing viewers even more popular franchises and blockbuster originals. To reflect this change, our premium streaming tier on Paramount+ and the SHOWTIME linear network will become “Paramount+ with SHOWTIME” in the US.
SHOWTIME has captivated audiences for decades with ambitious original series that define premium content and fandom. His name will forever be synonymous with groundbreaking entertainment and critically acclaimed creative excellence. Now, with content from SHOWTIME integrated into our flagship streaming service and select Paramount+ originals joining the linear offering, Paramount+ will become the definitive cross-platform brand in the streaming space – and the first of its kind to integrate streaming and linear content. in this way.
This new combined offering demonstrates how we can leverage our entire collection of content to create deeper connections with consumers and greater value for our distribution partners. This change will also result in a stronger alignment of our domestic and international Paramount+ offerings, as Paramount+ international already includes Showtime content. And, most importantly, this integration will unlock operational efficiencies and financial benefits across our portfolio.
Chris McCarthy will continue to lead the SHOWTIME studio and oversee network operations for the linear channel. In tandem, he will work closely with Tom Ryan, who will oversee the “Paramount + with SHOWTIME” streaming business.
While we believe this is the right decision for our business, our consumers and our partners, we know that this change is creating uncertainty for the teams working on these brands and businesses. We are committed to being as transparent and thoughtful as possible throughout this process, and we plan to share additional details in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, I would ask you to continue to concentrate. Thanks to your hard work, dedication, and collaboration, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME is set up for success. Thank you, as always, for all you do.
Chris McCarthy’s full memo is below:
I wanted to follow up on the great news Bob just shared about SHOWTIME and Paramount+ being further integrated to create a powerful streaming service, and explain why I’m so excited about this big step forward.
There are many benefits for Paramount+ and SHOWTIME, both on the streaming and network side, in three key areas:
Complementary and differentiated brands
Redirect increased investments to SHOWTIME strengths
Integrated Platform – Increased focus on content
I’m sure you’ll have lots of questions, and to that end, we’re planning a town hall in Los Angeles the week of February 23 to go into specifics and highlights, including:
Complementary and differentiated brands
The SHOWTIME brand has always appealed to an audience that prefers content that has more edgy, mature themes, and focuses on complicated characters and layered worlds. SHOWTIME content appeals to subway-conscious viewers who are more culturally diverse with a higher concentration living in cities compared to the general population. These audiences and themes are complementary to the Paramount+ brand, which is much broader, appealing to the whole family and general market audiences across the country.
Redirect investment to SHOWTIME strengths
As a member of Paramount+, we can devote more resources to building the paths that have made the SHOWTIME brand famous, as well as transforming our hit shows into global hit franchises. To do this, we will divert investment from areas that are underperforming and that represent less than 10% of our views. We have already started discussions with our production partners about what content makes sense moving forward and what shows have franchise potential..
As a reminder, the strengths of the SHOWTIME brand and content filters are:
Complex characters: subversive anti-heroes such as: DEXTER, YOUR HONOR and YELLOW JACKETS
Powerful Worlds: Powerful high-stakes worlds like: BILLIONS and HOMELAND
Metro-Cultures: culturally diverse shots like: THE CHI and upcoming FELLOW TRAVELERS.
Integrated Platforms – Increased focus on content
Now that SHOWTIME and our content will be integrated as a premium tier from Paramount+, we will reach more people around the world through streaming and linear than ever before. On the network side, this will strengthen our offer to these consumers by allowing us to exploit Paramount+ originals in addition to SHOWTIME originals, as well as Paramount Pictures movies that come to the services.
This is a winning strategy that delivers more value to our streaming customers and more reason for cable subscribers to switch to the Paramount+ network with the soon-to-be-renamed SHOWTIME. More importantly, it allows us to focus more on the things that make the SHOWTIME brand famous: our successful content.
More to come soon, but for now, thank you for your help as we work hard together to make Paramount+ with SHOWTIME one of the world’s leading streaming services!