Paramount+ and Showtime to merge into a single service

Paramount+ and Showtime logos

Last updated on May 16th, 2023

On Monday, Paramount announced that it plans to merge Paramount+ and Showtime fully into a single streaming service. The two are currently available as a bundle with separate apps; Showtime content is also accessible, at an extra cost, within Paramount+. As such, the Showtime-based premium tier of Paramount+ will be renamed “Paramount+ with Showtime”; oddly, the Showtime cable channel will also be renamed “Paramount+ with Showtime.” The changes will happen later in 2023, along with pricing changes (read: a likely price hike).

There are also plans to ditch some programming that’s underperforming. In a move similar to HBO Max, Showtime is removing several short-lived or low-performing shows, including “American Gigolo,” “Let the Right One In,” and “Three Women.” Paramount plans to shop the last one around to other channels (the production’s completed, but not moving forward on Showtime). Meanwhile, some Paramount+ shows will also appear on Showtime (the TV channel). I hope this isn’t Warner Bros. Discovery setting a (bad) precedent. And again, it raises questions about where to watch removed shows that don’t appear on another service, especially if they lack a DVD/Blu-ray/digital video release.

My thoughts

Showtime main page
Showtime’s main page. (Paramount / screenshot by author)

Paramount seems to be doubling down on streaming and the “Paramount” studio name, to the point that ViacomCBS renamed itself “Paramount” a year ago. (A big improvement from an awful name.)

They also seem to figure they don’t need separate services for Paramount+ and Showtime. On one hand, fewer services from the same company sounds easier to manage, and less confusing to customers. On the other hand, Paramount still has a stand-alone streaming service for BET (“BET+”), despite BET being a major category on Paramount+ (which costs the same price as BET+).

In my case, I have Paramount+ mostly for Nickelodeon cartoons (“SpongeBob,” etc.), plus sports, live CBS access, a few reality shows, and movies. I didn’t think the movie side would get as much use, but I’ve watched a number of films on Paramount+: “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” even “Dracula 2000.” If wondering, that last one… exists, mainly to cash in on the turn-of-the-millennium hype over the year 2000. Dracula wasn’t doing anything in 2000 that he wouldn’t be doing in 2023 (besides visiting a Virgin Music store; the last one in the US closed in 2012).

That said, I’m not so interested in Showtime. The last time I watched much of anything on Showtime was in the 2000s, mostly for the original American version of “Queer As Folk.” It’s unclear if Paramount+ will still offer the premium ad-free tier without Showtime attached.

Still, while Paramount+ isn’t a “Netflix killer,” having Showtime combined with it should make it more competitive with Netflix. There’s also the upcoming combined HBO Max/Discovery+ service, as well as the usual Disney+/Hulu bundle, for competition. In some parts of Europe, Paramount+ is already part of a combined service: “SkyShowtime,” which carries content from Paramount+, Showtime, and (oddly) Peacock (Comcast owns UK media giant Sky).

I’ll also still be calling it just “Showtime,” as I suspect will everyone else. The AV Club has already made fun of the new name. Never mind Showtime is one of the US’ oldest pay TV services; it was founded in 1976, four years after HBO. While Showtime is usually perennially behind HBO in popularity, it still seems an odd choice to change its name, given its long history.

Images from Paramount+ and Showtime logos. (Paramount)

Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

View all posts by Anthony Dean →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *