Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish reiterated Tuesday that Showtime is no longer capable of standing on its own within the company. But he also underlined how the premium pay TV channel’s brand is still very “valuable” to the overall company by revealing Paramount is planning to franchise out some Showtime IP in the new year.
“It doesn’t make sense to run Showtime as a 100% standalone organization,” Bakish said, speaking about internal restructuring in the name of cost-saving synergies during his panel at UBS Global’s media conference in New York. “Certainly the brand is valuable, certainly it stands for a certain type of programming with consumers and its going to continue to and we’ll lean into that — but we don’t have to do it as a standalone, we’re doing it as a part of an integrated strategy and that’s both true on the traditional television side and streaming.”
He added: “It doesn’t make sense to have a fully built-out streaming infrastructure separate for Showtime than Paramount+, so we’re going to bring that together and there are economic benefits associated with it. But I want to be clear, the brand still matters. And if anything, I can promise you the slate is going to matter even more. In fact, another thing we’re going to do there is lean more into franchises. We haven’t announced anything on that but we will as we move into 2023.”
Last year, Showtime revived “Dexter” for the limited series “Dexter: New Blood” and is now in its third season of “The L Word” revival “Generation Q.” Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone” and its Paramount+ spinoffs “1883” and “1923” are even more recent examples of the Showtime parent company, as a whole, tripling down on franchising across platforms.
Currently, Showtime is available via its own OTT app and as an app within Paramount+ as part of a bundle offering. On Thursday, Bakish did not give an update on potential further integration for the platforms beyond saying that there will be “more to come in 2023.”
According to Bakish, the current subscriber base overlap between Showtime and Paramount+ is “relatively minor.” “Showtime tends to be, I’m going to generalize, more coastal, more upscale. Paramount tends to be more popular, more the whole country, etc.”