Paramount Global is set to launch SkyShowtime, a joint venture subscription streaming service with Comcast, next month in select European countries, excluding the U.K., Ireland, Germany and Italy — all markets currently covered by Sky TV. Sky will be offering Paramount+ as an add-on service to subscribers.
Speaking May 19 on the MoffettNathanson Media Summit, Paramount Global CFO Naveen Chopra said the service would target 20 countries and 90 million homes featuring content from Universal Pictures, Paramount, Showtime, Sky and Nickelodeon.
“It’s a very powerful content offering when you stitch those two things together,” Chopra said. “And one of the reasons that we entered into that JV is because it allows us to address some of these markets where it doesn’t make sense to do so on a pure [owner/operator] basis.”
The CFO said the JV afforded both Paramount and Comcast to explore new streaming markets that don’t have the requisite scale to support a singular service and returns on investment. In some cases, Chopra said the economic structure of how content is made available in those markets makes it challenging to invest too aggressively from a streaming perspective, considering the availability of free over-the-air content from third-party competitors.
“Every market is a little bit different … so we like that [JV] model in certain situations,” he said.
Chopra said SkyShowtime isn’t the first streaming JV for Paramount, which previously launched Viacom 18, an ad-supported platform in India with media giant Reliance. The platform is now called Voot, accessed by 100 million users, with plans to launch a branded SVOD service.
“With Reliance’s involvement, there will be great local content, unrivaled distribution capabilities,” Chopra said. “You don’t really bet against Reliance in the Indian market. And for us, we’re able to participate without investing any incremental capital. So, for the skeptics, I think it is a very smart way to plan ahead.”