SkyShowtime to Launch Ad-Supported Tier Amid Push for Local European Content

Dan Meier 19 February, 2024 

SkyShowtime, a streaming joint venture (JV) between Comcast and Paramount, has announced plans to launch an ad-supported tier, becoming the latest SVOD service to introduce an AVOD option.

The Standard with Ads plan will launch on 23 April across all markets where SkyShowtime operates. The service is available in European countries where Paramount+ is unavailable. It is accessable on Apple iOS, tvOS, Android devices, Android TV and Google Chromecast, as well as LG and Samsung Smart TVs.

The new tier will be offered alongside its existing ad-free plan, which will be re-named Standard Plus. The subscription fee for the ad-supported tier varies by market, with most priced at €4.99 per month. The ad-free tier will cost an extra €2-4 per month, depending on the market. In all cases, the ad-supported plan will cost the same or less than the current standard plan.

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“SkyShowtime has always been committed to offering great entertainment at a great price,” said SkyShowtime CEO Monty Sarhan. “We continue to invest in bringing the best of Hollywood and compelling local content to consumers in our markets. And with the launch of our new ad-supported plan, SkyShowtime continues to lead on value by providing consumers an even more affordable entertainment choice for the entire family. Our Standard with Ads plan offers all of the same blockbuster entertainment in our Standard Plus plan at an attractive price. We are excited to bring more choice and great prices to consumers in all of our markets.”

Leaning into local content

Upon launching in 2022, SkyShowtime replaced Paramount+ in the Nordics, giving the region a subscriber base just shy of 1.9 million users. Ampere Analysis forecasts the figure to pass 2 million this year.

But in markets that did not carry Paramount+, such as Portugal and the Netherlands, the JV had a more challenging task ahead. Ampere noted that “the platform had no existing streaming subscribers to leverage.”

But with Nordic streaming company Viaplay exiting its Baltic markets, as well as writing down its content investments, SkyShowtime could be looking to plug a gap in the market. The JV said it is committed to local programming, investments it hopes can differentiate SkyShowtime from its competitors.

“In 2024, members will have access to an even bigger catalogue of local series and movies across Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and Romania,” according to SkyShowtime.

Last week the JV announced its first original commission in Poland, an adaptation of the crime novel Sleboda made exclusively for SkyShowtime. The company said the series “will mark the streaming service’s expansion of locally produced originals as part of its continued commitment to provide exclusive programming that resonates with local audiences across its markets.”

Interestingly the strategy appears divergent from Paramount’s plans to pull back on local content, focusing instead on its Hollywood franchises, including Top Gun and Mission: Impossible, as well as the hit series Yellowstone. It is unclear how those strategies align, especially as Paramount undergoes heavy job cuts and lines up suitors for a potential sale.

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