July 20, 2021
Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts, and ViacomCBS chairman Shari Redstone and CEO Bob Bakish reportedly met recently to discuss partnering in an international streaming video venture.
The Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the situation, said the executives met at the end of June in New York to discuss possible scenarios in which the two media giants could partner in advancing their respective streaming platforms.
Comcast’s NBCUniversal launched the Peacock SVOD/AVOD platform last summer, while ViacomCBS transitioned CBS All Access into Paramount+ in March. Both platforms have international aspirations in an attempt to remain competitive with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.
Working together could benefit the companies as Comcast’s Roberts has publicly expressed a desire to find business partners for international expansion. Paramount+ plans to operate in 45 countries by 2022.
Netflix has seen the bulk of its subscriber growth originate outside the United States, while one-third of Disney+ subs come from India. Comcast also owns streaming service Now TV in the United Kingdom, operated by its Sky satellite TV subsidiary.
Regardless, strange bedfellows is indeed a possibility considering that since its launch, Peacock has generated 45 million sign-ups, but reportedly only about 10 million paying subscribers. ViacomCBS in May disclosed that its Paramount+, Showtime OTT and BET+ platforms had a combined paying sub base of 35.9 million.
By comparison, Netflix had 208 million subs at the end of March, a tally that could be closer to 210 million through the streamer’s fiscal second quarter, ended June 30. Prime Video touted 175 million subs two months ago, while Disney+ tops 103 million.