Media giant Paramount Global Inc. on Monday announced it plans to merge its Paramount+ streaming service with its premium cable channel, Showtime.
The integration, set to take effect later this year, essentially means Showtime subscribers on cable will get to watch Paramount+ content, such as “1923” and “Star Trek: Picard,” and streaming subscribers to the premium tier of Paramount+ will get access to Showtime titles, such as “Yellowjackets” and “Billions.” Subscribers of the lower-priced, ad-supported tier of Paramount+ will apparently not be able to stream Showtime content.
The move is intended to make Paramount+ more competitive in an increasingly crowded streaming environment, and make it more comparable to rival Warner Bros. Discovery Inc.’s WBD, -3.55% HBO Max, which streams HBO content as well as originals, and will merge with Discovery+ later this year.
The cable channel and the premium streaming tier will both officially be rebranded as “Paramount+ with Showtime.” The changes had been long rumored, and the Wall Street Journal reported last week they were imminent.
Pricing and additional details will be released in the coming weeks. Currently, Showtime is available to Paramount+ subscribers as an add-on.
“Paramount+ will become the definitive multiplatform brand in the streaming space,” Paramount Chief Executive Bob Bakish told employees in a memo Monday, adding that the integration will “unlock operational efficiencies and financial benefits.”
That likely will result in layoffs and cancellations. The first cuts came Monday, as Showtime cancelled two drama series, “Let the Right One In” and “American Gigolo,” and said it would not air the upcoming drama series “Three Women,” starring Shailene Woodley, which will reportedly be shopped to other networks.
Class B shares PARA, -1.99% of Paramount Global are down 32% over the past 12 months, but have rallied 34% year to date, compared to the S&P 500’s SPX, -1.30% 11% decline over the past year and 5% gain this year.
This article was originally published by Marketwatch.com. Read the original article here.