ViacomCBS has decided to shut down the standalone version of Paramount Plus in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland — less than a year after launching the streamer in the Nordics — and will merge it with the new SkyShowtime service coming in 2022.
On Wednesday, Comcast and ViacomCBS announced their formation of a joint venture that will introduce the SkyShowtime subscription VOD service in 22 European territories starting next year. SkyShowtime will include content from the NBCUniversal, Sky and ViacomCBS brands, including titles from Showtime, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Plus originals, Sky Studios, Universal Pictures and Peacock.
A source familiar with the media conglomerates’ strategy told Variety that Comcast and ViacomCBS concluded that teaming up in a JV would be the most “economically viable” way to enter the particular set of European markets, which include the Nordic countries.
A rep for ViacomCBS said that Paramount Plus in the Nordics “is continuing with full investment and, in 2022, it is anticipated that it will be moved into SkyShowtime.” Upon its launch via SkyShowtime, existing Paramount Plus subscribers will be migrated to SkyShowtime; pricing for SkyShowtime in the Nordics will be announced at a later date.
NBCU’s Peacock and ViacomCBS’s Paramount Plus will continue with their global expansion plans outside of those 22 territories. The free, ad-supported version of Peacock, for example, is set to alight on Sky pay-TV platforms beginning later this year in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. Similarly, Paramount Plus is set to launch on Sky platforms in those same six countries in 2022 as part of a new multiyear distribution agreement with ViacomCBS Networks International.
The new SkyShowtime service from Comcast and ViacomCBS is expected to launch in 2022, subject to regulatory approval. It will eventually be available to consumers in Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden, according to the companies.
Paramount Plus launched in the Nordics in March 2021, following the expanded/rebranded debut of Paramount Plus in the U.S. (which was converted from CBS All Access). In the Nordic countries, Paramount Plus has been available through Nuuday, Telenor and Allente, as well as other distributors including Apple TV.