Sky, ViacomCBS Set to Launch Paramount+ in Western Europe in 2022

Comcast’s satellite TV operator Sky and ViacomCBS International are set to launch the Paramount+ subscription streaming video platform in Western Europe in 2022. The two companies Aug. 18 announced that Paramount+ will launch on Sky platforms in the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria as part of a new multiyear distribution agreement that also includes the extended carriage of ViacomCBS’s portfolio of pay-TV channels and the renewal of Sky as an ad sales partner in select markets.

Paramount+ is the latest third-party content app to come to Sky Q, adding more than 10,000 hours of content, and furthering Sky’s strategy congregating access to content in one place.

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“This transformative distribution deal is key to accelerating our global ambitions in streaming while also supporting Sky’s strategic objectives to better serve audiences with greater flexibility in how they consume our content across all platforms,” Raffaele Annecchino, CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International, said in a statement.

Upon launch, Sky Cinema subs will get Paramount+ included at no additional cost. As part of this partnership, Paramount Pictures’ feature films will remain available on Sky Cinema in the U.K. and will join Sky Cinema in Germany and Italy in 2022. All other Sky customers will be able to subscribe to Paramount+ as an add-on to their account.

Paramount+ will also be available direct-to-consumer in UK, Ireland, Italy and GSA through the Paramount+ app for iOS and Android and across supported connected TV devices and OTT platforms. Pricing and local content offering will be announced at a later date.

Movies that will become available through 2022 in the U.K., Ireland, Italy and other countries include a collection of scripted, exclusive Paramount+ originals and new takes on film franchises, including HaloThe Offer and the new “iCarly” series. As the international home of Showtime, the service will offer “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” “Ripley,” “Super Pumped” and “American Gigolo,” in addition to titles from ViacomCBS, such as “Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years,” “Star Trek: Prodigy,” and “MTV Unplugged.” The service will also feature a collection of new premieres and classics from the “Mission: Impossible” and “Transformers” movie franchises.

“Paramount+ is an excellent service with a huge range of fantastic films and TV series, and our new, broader agreement with ViacomCBS will benefit both businesses,” said Stephen van Rooyen, EVP and chief executive for U.K. and Europe at Sky.

In addition, ViacomCBS and Sky reached a multiyear extension for carriage of ViacomCBS’s linear channels — including Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon — in the U.K., Ireland, Italy and other European countries.

ViacomCBS also renewed its multiyear agreement with Sky as an ad sales partner for all platforms and channels in the U.K. and Italy. Sky Media will continue to handle ad sales across the ViacomCBS portfolio of channels, including Channel 5 in the UK, where ViacomCBS and Channel 5 will benefit from Sky Media’s innovation in addressable advertising.

Report: Western Europe SVOD Subscriptions to Reach 234 Million by 2026

The pending arrival of HBO Max, combined with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, will greatly affect subscription streaming video in Western Europe, according to new data from Digital TV Research. The region featuring Germany, the U.K., France, Portugal, Ireland, Holland, Spain, Italy, Luxemburg, Monaco, Lichtenstein, Belgium and Austria will have 234 million SVOD subs by 2026, up from 137 million subs at the end of 2020.

Despite losing market share, Netflix will remain the largest SVOD platform. Netflix will have 74 million paying European subs by 2026 — up by 20 million from 2020. Disney+ will become the second-largest platform by 2025, surpassing Amazon Prime Video. Now available in most Western European countries, Disney+ will have 55 million paying subs by 2026; up by 36 million on 2020.

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HBO Max will launch in the six countries where it already has operations — the Nordic countries, Portugal and Spain — before the end 2021. However, Max will not start in some key European countries due to existing exclusive contracts. For example, HBO’s contract with Sky in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the U.K. lasts until 2025.

“If Max started across the region’s 18 countries in 2021, we estimate that it would amass 10 million subs by 2026. This will not happen, so its total will be 3.3 million across six countries by 2026,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement.

Analyst: Western Europe to Double SVOD Subs by 2025

Spurred by Netflix, Disney+ and others, Western Europe will have 191 million SVOD subscriptions by 2025, more than double from 90 million at the end of 2019, according to new data from Digital TV Research. About 35 million subscribers will be added in 2020 alone, with the COVID-19 lockdown having a major effect.

Netflix will remain the largest platform, with 68.49 million paying subs expected by 2025. Despite adding 25 million subs between 2019 and 2025, Netflix will lose market share. How? Disney+, the SVOD platform launched in November 2019 in the U.S., and in Europe earlier this year.

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Disney+ has made a strong and immediate impact, given its brand recognition, low price and impressive content line-up. Disney+ launched in the remainder of Western European countries this month.

“Disney+ will have a huge impact. However, we have downgraded Disney+ since our last forecasts in April,” Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said in a statement. “After strong early take-up and based on its June results, subscriber growth will decelerate rapidly. We have increased our forecasts for the ‘other’ category due to the wave of launches due from the likes of Hulu, Paramount+ and Peacock.”