Paramount+ adds 10 million subs, braces for $1.5bn charge from Showtime merger

Tulsa King

Paramount+ added 9.9 million subscribers in the fourth quarter, to reach nearly 56 million in total, while the SVOD’s revenue grew by 81% year-over-year to hit $800m, according to parent company Paramount Global.

The US media giant said that the streamer’s subscriber growth was driven by the expansion of franchises like Tom Cruise-led action feature Top Gun: Maverick and Taylor Sheridan’s growing Yellowstone universe, as well as the NFL and new IP like the crime drama series Tulsa King and horror film Smile.

AVOD service Pluto TV also added 6.5 million global monthly active users during the quarter, to reach nearly 79 million total, driven largely by its expansion into Canada via its partnership with Corus Entertainment.

Overall, this saw Paramount Global add 10.8 million total DTC subscribers in Q4 to reach around 77 million, with DTC revenue growing 30% year-over-year to $1.4bn and total company revenue increasing by 2% to $8.13bn. However, TV revenue dropped by 7% to $5.88bn, while the company’s quarterly adjusted losses increased to $575m in Q4, up from $502m in the previous year. Expenses also rose to $1.97bn from $1.57bn over the same period.

Paramount Global president and CEO Bob Bakish said that the results “demonstrate the success of [the company’s] global multiplatform strategy.”

“Our content and platform strategy is working and, with even more exceptional content coming this year, we expect to return the company to earnings growth in 2024,” said the Paramount boss.

Dexter: New Blood

Showtime strategy

The results come just days after Paramount laid off 120 staff following a merger of Showtime and MTV Entertainment Studios leadership, with Showtime co-president of entertainment Jana Winograde among those departing.

MTV unscripted head Nina L Diaz was upped to chief creative officer and president of content in the new structure, which was unveiled two weeks after Paramount revealed plans to integrate Showtime into Paramount+ across both streaming and linear services in the US, with the service rebranded as Paramount+ with Showtime.

The integration is planned to take place in the third quarter of this year and Paramount expects it will lead to annual savings of around $700m, but will cost the company an impairment charge of between $1.3bn and $1.5bn.

Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks, has lately talked up a new Showtime scripted strategy focused on franchise building. The decision has led to the cancellation of several series, including horror Let The Right One In, crime drama American Gigolo and Three Women, which has now found a new home on Starz, while multiple spin-offs are in development for Dexter and Billions.

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