Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish, who facilitated the acquisition of premium channel Showtime, assured investors in a recent call that his team will continue producing brand-specific content like Ray Donovan. The new offering, dubbed ‘Paramount+ with Showtime,’ will feature added programming based on the Donovan universe, as well.
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“We’re not just doing that streaming, we’re doing that linear as well,” Bakish said during a Morgan Stanley-hosted investor conference. “So come sometime this year, when you turn on Showtime linear, it’s going to be Paramount+ With Showtime. And it’s what I call a win-win-win. It’s a win for consumers, because the product is going to be fundamentally better than Showtime. You’re going to get 1923 on it, you’ll get Tulsa King, [all bundled] as part of your Showtime subscription. It’s just going to be a bigger, broader product.”
Bakish insisted that Paramount wants to lean into the shows that historically worked, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel with new programming.
“We fundamentally believe in a broad thesis,” he said. “So that will work at the consumer level and as part of that, we’re leaning into the Showtime franchises. So you could think about the slate as smaller, which will be less expensive, but also really giving the people what they want — which is more Showtime, maybe more Dexter, maybe more Ray Donovan, and really leaning into that. And we have some exciting plans there.”
In that same vein, Variety reported that Paramount already ordered spin-offs of Billions. Bakish mentioning the Donovan franchise should excite fans, though, considering the show officially wrapped in 2022 with a feature length film after seven seasons on air.
Paramount sees Showtime as a valuable long-term asset, not a quick flip
Paramount reportedly hopes to launch the rebranded Showtime in Q3 of this year, although no date has been announced. Bakish also addressed the rumors that Paramount turned down a $3 billion-plus bid from former Showtime leader David Nevins to buy the network.
“We don’t usually comment on M&A, but there has been so much comment about the Showtime thing that, I don’t know, we’ll cross the line and talk about it,” Bakish said on the call. “Yea, we got an unsolicited offer for Showtime. We looked at it… And the reality is, it wasn’t that interesting to us because if you compare that price that’s [floated] in the press — I’m not going to say it — if you compare that to our internal business plan, the reality is our internal plan is far more value creating when you take the base earnings in synergies. And, by the way, how it affects the streaming path to profitability… It just didn’t make sense for it to be at anywhere near that price.”
Paramount intends to raise the sub price for Showtime, and it obviously sees the longterm valuation of the combination higher than Nevins’ offer.
“Make no mistake, this is the next step in our mission of delivering consumers a broad cornerstone service on a multi-platform basis,” Bakish declared.