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ViacomCBS Plans to Launch Sky Showtime Streaming Service in Europe

ViacomCBS Plans to Launch Sky Showtime Streaming – Comcast and ViacomCBS on Wednesday unveiled a partnership to launch a new subscription video-on-demand service, dubbed SkyShowtime, in more than 20 European territories encompassing 90 million homes.

The partnership will be structured as a joint venture, with equal investment and joint control by ViacomCBS and Comcast. The news comes after recent reports that the companies were exploring an international streaming partnership instead of a possible outright merger, which some observers have suggested.

The new SVOD service is expected to launch in 2022, subject to regulatory approval. It will ultimately be available to consumers in Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Further details, including the subscription price, will be announced at a later date.

“SkyShowtime will bring together decades of direct-to-consumer experience and the very best entertainment, movies and original series from the NBCUniversal, Sky and ViacomCBS portfolio of brands, including titles from Showtime, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, Paramount+ Originals, Sky Studios, Universal Pictures and Peacock,” the companies said. “The service’s vast slate will span all genres and audience categories, including scripted dramas, kids and family, key franchises, premiere movies, local programming, documentaries/factual content and more.”

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“SkyShowtime will be home to 10,000+ hours of entertainment from some of the top creators and most beloved content from around the world,” the partners said. It will include first-run, new movies and TV seasons launching every month with a quality library of all-time favorites, classics, and family and kids programming.

ViacomCBS Networks International and Comcast’s Sky had earlier in the month unveiled a deal to launch ViacomCBS’ Paramount+ streamer on Sky platforms in the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria in 2022 as part of a new multi-year distribution agreement.

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“With the launch of SkyShowtime we are well positioned to utilize our global content engine to create a compelling streaming offering, quickly and at scale, with a smart strategic phased investment,” said Raffaele Annecchino, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International. “As a complement to our recently announced Paramount+ partnership with Sky in the U.K., Italy, and Germany, SkyShowtime represents a huge opportunity to accelerate our market expansion and build a leadership position in SVOD in Europe.”

Said Dana Strong, group CEO of Sky: “Our new streaming service, SkyShowtime, will combine the best of the U.S. and Europe with iconic brands and world-class entertainment for millions of consumers in more than 20 new markets in Europe.”

She added: “On the heels of Peacock coming to Sky, this partnership provides an innovative approach to quickly scale internationally and monetize content across Europe. Drawing on the strength of the incredible programming from NBCUniversal, Sky and ViacomCBS, and powered by Peacock’s platform technology, SkyShowtime will provide a truly compelling lineup for the whole family and strong brand recognition across these regions.”

The service, dubbed “SkyShowtime,” is expected to launch in 2022 and roll out in more than 20 European countries including Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. It will include libraries from Comcast-owned Sky and NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS brands like Showtime, Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures. The new service will include both new and previously released movies and TV series and will have more than 10,000 hours of content.

Comcast’s NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS decided to partner together throughout much of Europe because each company felt there wasn’t a large enough streaming appetite for multiple products in those countries, according to people familiar with the matter. Pricing will differ market to market, though it will be “competitive” with other products in all countries, said the people, who asked not to be named because the details are still private.

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The news comes just two weeks after ViacomCBS said it would partner with Sky to launch Paramount+ in Europe. Last month, several media outlets reported Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts and ViacomCBS Chairman Shari Redstone had reportedly met to discuss ways to work together.

SkyShowtime is structured as a joint venture with equal ownership from both companies. It will run on NBCUniversal’s platform. Comcast chose to use the Sky branding, rather than Peacock, because it’s better known in Europe, one of the people said.

Both NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS trail behind many of the streaming giants, with just 54 million Peacock sign-ups and 42 million streaming subscribers respectively. That puts them behind streaming giants like Netflix, Disney and Amazon.