January 27, 2023

The UBS Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference is underway, which means several executives from streaming and media companies are looking to answer questions from industry insiders and investors. Bob Bakish, CEO of Paramount Global, spoke at the conference Tuesday, offering much insight into the future of Paramount, the company’s flagship streaming service.

The most newsworthy message from Bakish’s time was a possible price increase for the service. The exec echoed other company executives in saying there would definitely be an increase, but did not specify when or how much subscribers should expect to pay.

Bakish suggested that Paramount+ will not raise prices on both subscription levels at the same time. Paramount+ currently offers an ad-supported Essential tier for $4.99 per month and an ad-free Premium tier for $9.99 per month, which includes access to a live stream of users’ local CBS stations. Bakish indicated that the company would likely raise the price of the more expensive tier first to retain users who would otherwise leave the service as costs rise.

“There is also no doubt that we are nowhere near the top of the pricing [for Paramount+]Bakish said. “We are very competitively priced… [it’s] really great value to the consumer. We will raise the price, there is no doubt about that.”

The CEO also provided more insight into the plan to merge Paramount+ with SHOWTIME. Bakish pointed out that the name “SHOWTIME” conjures up a specific image of the content users can expect, so the company wants to try to keep that brand as much as possible. However, users can expect a fully integrated version of the two services sooner or later.

“There’s no point in having a full-featured streaming infrastructure separate for SHOWTIME and Paramount+, so we’re going to bring those together. And there are economic benefits to it,” Bakish noted.

Meanwhile, Bakish pointed out to users that starting in August, customers could bundle SHOWTIME and Paramount+ and view all the combined content in one app. The combined Paramount+/SHOWTIME bundle is currently $14.99 per month.

The conference also provided an opportunity for Bakish to provide a little insight into the future of content at Paramount+. He reported that the company is still on track to increase its streaming content spending from $2 billion in 2022 to $6 billion in 2024. The CEO noted that the company owns a popular collection of franchises and will continue to lean on 2023 those IPs.

Overall, it was a strong November for Paramount+. Thanks to the NFL and the premiere of the Taylor Sheridan-created “Tulsa King” starring Sylvester Stallone, Paramount+ broke records for new subscriber signings and total hours streamed worldwide. Customers may be grumbling about the announcement of upcoming price increases, but Paramount+ is in a strong position heading into 2023.

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