One fascinating aspect of the various over-the-top streaming services’ jockeying for positioning has been about bundling. A big part of ESPN+’s various pricing increases (from $4.99 a month initially to $9.99 a month currently) have been about the company being able to say “It’s still the same price if you have the Disney bundle!”, and that bundle itself has been a large source of ESPN+ subscriptions (as for a long while, ESPN+ was essentially free in the bundle if you wanted Hulu and Disney+). Meanwhile, over at Paramount Global’s Paramount+ (a service placing a heavy emphasis on live soccer at the moment), they announced a bundling with Walmart’s Walmart+ service earlier this month, and now they’ve signed a bundle deal with fellow Paramount company Showtime:
— Paramount+ (@paramountplus) August 31, 2022
As per Dade Hayes of Deadline, this will let new subscribers sign up for both properties, and will offer options for existing subscribers to one or the other to upgrade to the bundle:
The full bundling follows an initial move last year to unify the billing of the two, with significant discounts, as Paramount Global was looking to give an extra boost to Paramount+. Formerly known as CBS All Access, the streaming service rebranded in 2021.
New subscribers will be able to sign up for Paramount+ With Showtime for $7.99 a month for the basic, ad-supported service and $12.99 for the ad-free version. Current subscribers can upgrade to the bundle within their app.
After the introductory discount ends October 2, the bundle will cost $11.99 with ads or $14.99 without them. Subscribers interested in having only Showtime, without Paramount+, will still be able to get it for $10.99 a month as a stand-alone offering as well as through third-party distributors. Likewise, those wanting Paramount+ but not Showtime can continue to pay $4.99 a month with ads or $9.99 without them. Live fare, notably sports, is not part of the ad-free promise, and of course Showtime programming will not carry ads when it is viewed on the combined app.
On the sports side, there are some Showtime sports properties (specifically with boxing and some documentaries), but most of them (including even former Showtime property Inside The NFL) now live on the Paramount+ side. So the really notable part of this bundle from a sports perspective is that it may get people who only had Showtime’s OTT service to come over to Paramount+. That should increase the numbers of subscriptions for Paramount+, and that should help its ambitions to be a significant player in future sports deals. And there’s maybe also an effect here from increasing the accessibility of Showtime sports content, as Paramount+ subscribers who take this bundle deal will now be able to watch that as well.