If we have learned anything from the streaming wars, it’s that nothing is safe or sacred when it comes to networks and programs. 2022 has been a lot- mass cancellations at The CW, Warner Bros. Discovery trashing big things “for tax write-offs,” and the ups and downs for Netflix this year. In short, network and cable are wounded and/or dying depending on the particular network. Even with all of that having happened, sometimes we still get caught off guard. Such is the case with the latest news cabler SHOWTIME may be shutting down its streaming service, shifting its original content to Paramount+.
Showtime has bene the home of a number of tremendous series, both widely popular and cult classics. On the popular side you have “Ray Donovan,” “Dexter,” “The L Word,” “Shameless,” “Nurse Jackie,” and “Californication.” As for cult classics, you get “The Chris Isaak Show,” “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show,” and “Dead Like Me.” Their current slate has critical hit “Yellowjackets,” “Billions,” and “The Chi,” among others.
A merger of sorts between the two has already happened in a digital sense. Paramount+ has allowed for subscribers to access SHOWTIME’s streaming service as a package deal. Shutting down the platform entirely to be part of Paramount+ would be a drastic step though towards combining assets. In this case, is drastic really a bad idea? If streaming platforms are the way of the future, combining SHOWTIME’s programs onto Paramount+ is a no brainer as it will give the streaming network more to work with.
When fighting a battle against other heavy-hitting streaming platforms, you need all the ammunition you can get. That is assuming of course, that the battle between streaming networks is one worth winning. We already saw Netflix struggle early on, on for HBO Max to get hit hard thanks to some questionable decision making from HBO Max Discovery head, David Zaslav. Is this a warning sign that you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket so to say, or that now is the time to double down and stomp out the competition?
As of right now, the talks about shutting down SHOWTIME are only in early, prospective conversations according to reports. Merging entirely into Paramount+ would provide a lot more content, but it could also mean losing money from people who were subscribing to Showtime who may not want to be a part of Paramount+. Not to mention, it’s hard to see this merger happening without a fairly substantive price bump for the streaming platform. As we’ve said before with other news like this, it’s worth keeping an eye on as the shifting and moving around of assets becomes more and more valuable to networks.