During a conference call with investors, Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish said the company was a big believer in bundling services and content in an effort to fully maximize the potential of its intellectual property, and had already started to see positive returns in areas where Paramount has tapped the bundling strategy both within the company and with third party partners.
Over the last few years, Paramount has explored various types of streaming partnerships to get its Paramount Plus content in front of as many streamers as possible. Domestically, Paramount fused its Paramount Plus brands with Showtime, which led to a 40 percent increase in consumed content, Bakish said. It also has agreements in place with T-Mobile, Walmart and other companies to offer extended free access to the ad-supported version of Paramount Plus to their customers, which helps increase both visibility and advertising revenue.
By the Numbers: Paramount Streaming
- Number of Global Subscribers: ~61 million
- Subscription Revenue (Q2): $1.224 billion
- Advertising Revenue (Q2): $441 million
- Overall Revenue (Q2): $1.665 billion
- Expenses (Q2): $2.089 billion
- Subscription Revenue (YTD): $2.336 billion
- Advertising Revenue (YTD): $839 million
- Overall Revenue (YTD): $3.175 billion
- Expenses (YTD): $4.110 billion
- Q2 Loss: $424 million
- YTD Loss: $935 million
(Source: Paramount earnings report, figures include Paramount Plus, BET Plus, Pluto TV and Noggin streaming services)
Paramount also offers subscriptions to both Paramount Plus and Showtime through third party streaming marketplaces, including those operated by Roku (the Roku Channel), Apple (Apple TV), Amazon (Prime Video Channels) and Google-backed YouTube (Primetime Channels). There, Paramount Plus content is distributed by third parties, while both share in revenue generated from subscription sales (platforms typically take between 15 and 30 percent of each subscription, though major companies like Paramount can sometimes negotiate a lower cut).
Overseas, Paramount has focused more on “hard bundles” with cable and satellite providers, which allow pay TV customers to access Paramount Plus content as part of their service. It also entered into a joint venture with Comcast to offer Paramount-owned TV shows and movies through Sky Showtime, which also makes content from Comcast and Peacock available to streamers.
“We are continuing to look at incremental opportunities in this regard,” Bakish said. “And the only thing we know for sure is it will be a growing part of what we’re doing. As to the specifics of partnerships and timing, etc., we’ll see — but bundling is definitely a value-added element of streaming.”
Paramount is not alone at utilizing bundles to help increase subscriptions and revenue: Disney has offered a premium bundle that allows streamers to watch content from Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus for one flat price, while Comcast recently bundled its cornerstone streamer Peacock with its new live TV service called Now TV (which is, at the moment, only available to Xfinity Internet subscribers).
The strategies come at a time when Paramount and others are trying to capitalize on their massive investments in direct-to-consumer streaming, which saw major media companies invest hundreds of millions of dollars into content production and marketing over the last few years.
On Monday, Paramount said it managed to reduce its streaming-related operating loss to $424 million during its second financial quarter of the year, a decrease of 5 percent compared to the same three-month period last year. Revenue earned from streaming clocked in at $1.665 billion, while expenses climbed to $2.089 billion.