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Paramount Global’s streaming service Paramount+ will be launching in the U.K. and South Korea in June, with plans to also make it available in India in 2023 as part of its continued expansion around the world.
The company has set June 22 as the streamer’s launch date in the U.K. and Ireland, while also planning to make it available in South Korea in June, with no exact date immediately available, The Hollywood Reporter understands. Paramount Global touted the continued rollout of its streaming services around the globe on a conference call following its first-quarter earnings report earlier on Tuesday.
Paramount Global, when it was still called ViacomCBS, struck a deal last August with Comcast’s European pay TV and streaming powerhouse Sky to launch Paramount+ on Sky platforms in the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria this year. Later on Tuesday, the company said Paramount+ would become available to Sky Cinema subscribers in the U.K. at no extra cost under this deal.
The streamer will also be available in Britain through the Paramount+ website and app, Apple, Amazon, Google, Roku, Samsung and more platforms to be announced later on a direct-to-consumer basis, the company detailed in its announcement. And it unveiled pricing for the British market: £6.99 ($8.77) per month, or £69.90 ($87.74) per year after a free seven-day trial period.
Meanwhile, the entry of Paramount+ in South Korea will come under a strategic partnership with Korean entertainment powerhouse CJ ENM that was unveiled in December. Under the pact, the streamer is set to debut as an exclusive bundle with TVING, CJ ENM’s streaming service, marking the first market launch for Paramount+ in Asia.
And in India, Paramount+ is set to become available next year. “In 2022, we’re continuing to expand Paramount+ to the biggest markets in the world, starting with the U.K. and South Korea in June,” said Paramount president and CEO Bob Bakish on Tuesday’s earnings call. “And, we will be in more major European markets, including Italy, France, Germany … in the second half of the year. Additionally, in 2023, Paramount+ will launch in India in partnership with Viacom 18 as part of a recently announced agreement and is poised to participate in this fast-growing streaming market.”
Last week, an investment firm of James Murdoch and former Star India CEO and Walt Disney Asia Pacific president Uday Shankar unveiled this investment. Bodhi Tree Systems, an investment platform backed by Murdoch’s Lupa Systems and Shankar, said it would invest $1.78 billion in Viacom 18, an Indian media joint venture of Paramount and TV18 that includes TV networks and a streaming platform.
After ending 2021 with a presence in 26 markets, Paramount+ is this year set to become available in more countries, including in France with Vivendi’s Canal+. Paramount is also planning to roll out its SkyShowtime streaming joint venture with Comcast/Sky in more than 20 European territories encompassing 90 million homes, beginning this year. Overall, announced and planned launches are currently set to lead to Paramount having a paid streaming service in more than 60 markets globally by the end of 2022.
Just like its peers, the conglomerate has been focusing on growing its streaming business, including subscription service Paramount+ and advertising-based video on-demand service Pluto TV. Paramount+ ended 2021 with 32.8 million subscribers, and the company is targeting to hit 100 million by 2024.
However, Paramount management has emphasized that it is not focused as much on how many markets it reaches, but on strategically mapping out which countries to expand into, when and how, including through possible partnerships. Executives have said that this tailored market-by-market approach allows the company to expand its streaming business quickly but at a lower risk, while taking advantage of established or new partnerships and ensuring diversified revenue streams.
For example, Bakish said on Tuesday’s earnings call that making Paramount+ available in foreign markets via “hard bundles” offered by distribution partners, such as Canal+ in France, allows for quick user growth without high subscriber acquisition costs.
About its U.K. launch plans, Paramount+ said on Tuesday that it would offer “a broad content slate of more than 8,000 hours of content for the whole family, spanning new and exclusive Paramount+ originals, hit shows and popular movies across every genre from Paramount’s world-renowned brands and production studios, including Showtime, Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon.”
It touted access to the likes of the Star Trek universe, new seasons of Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone series, as well as South Park and the MTV Shores franchise, along with kids and families favorites like SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol and Rugrats.
“Some of the most anticipated Paramount+ and Showtime originals from the U.S., U.K. and other international markets will be available in the U.K. and Ireland when the service launches, including Halo, 1883, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, The Offer, Mayor of Kingstown, Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, The First Lady, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Queen of the Universe and Jerry & Marge Go Large,” it added. Plus, Paramount+ U.K. promised “unlimited access to blockbuster movies with new releases like Scream 5, time-proven classics such as Grease and Star Trek, and family friendly selections.”
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