Paramount+ offers US subscribers in-app Showtime bundle

It’s happening — Paramount+ now has an in-app Showtime bundle. Previously announced back in February, the company is offering a new bundle to U.S. subscribers that brings all the content from Showtime to its flagship streaming service. The two services were already available in a discounted streaming bundle, but now U.S. subscribers can upgrade in-app to a plan that includes both Paramount+ and Showtime. The company hopes the new product will simplify the sign-up process and provide easier content discovery.

For a limited time, U.S. subscribers can get the bundle for $7.99 per month for the Essential plan, which includes ads, and $12.99 per month for the Premium plan with no ads. The last day to get introductory pricing is October 2, after which the bundle will cost $11.99 per month for the ad-supported tier, or $14.99 per month for the ad-free tier. The best part about the bundle is that Showtime is commercial-free for both Paramount+ plans.

Like Disney’s bundle (Disney+/Hulu/ESPN+), subscribers can choose to stick with their initial Paramount+ plan if they aren’t fans of Showtime and don’t want to pay extra. Showtime will also continue to be available separately for $10.99 per month as a standalone streaming service, and at no extra cost through participating TV providers on certain plans. Showtime is also a Hulu add-on.

Paramount+ subscribers outside the U.S. already have access to Showtime because it's offered by default within the international offerings. Paramount+ recently launched in the U.K. and Ireland and has plans to expand into Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Africa and the Middle East. The streaming service was also released in South Korea in partnership with TVING. It plans to launch in India in partnership with Viacom 18.

Showtime struggles to keep up with its younger sibling. In May, President and CEO of Paramount Global Bob Bakish admitted Showtime and its other streaming services -- except Paramount+ -- took a dive in the first quarter of 2022, experiencing a loss of 500,000 subscribers.

As of early August, Paramount+ has 43.3 million global subscribers keeping the streamer on track to reach its goal of 100 million subs by 2024. The company didn’t reveal a specific number for Showtime but reported a total of 63.7 million direct-to-consumer subscribers across Paramount Global’s streaming services Paramount+, Showtime, Noggin, BET+ and some other smaller international offerings. Pluto TV, its free ad-supported streaming service, has nearly 70 million global monthly active users to date.

Even though Showtime had a six-year head start to make it in the streaming game, Paramount+ is arguably superior. In fact, some believe Showtime shouldn’t even exist, arguing that it is underfunded by Paramount with fewer “high-profile” premieres. So why doesn’t Paramount merge the two services?

In the company’s Q1 2022 earnings call, Bakish said that Showtime is an “additive” to Paramount’s streaming business, offering subscribers niche content. Paramount+ has a wide range of content for every type of viewer. “Serving super fans with a super broad offering but still offering some à la carte options” is the best move for Paramount, Bakish said.

A merger between Paramount+ and Showtime would be a logical step for the company to take. It would put Paramount in direct competition with Warner Bros. Discovery’s forthcoming HBO Max and Discovery+ mashup streaming service. However, a merger isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.