On the conference call following the release of its Q4 2022 earnings report, Paramount Global confirmed details of a planned price increase for Paramount+ subscribers to coincide with the announced integration of SHOWTIME into the company’s flagship streaming service.
Subscribers to Paramount+’s ad-supported Essentials tier will see a $1 monthly increase from $4.99 to $5.99, while Premium plan customers will pay an additional $2 per month when Showtime programming is fully folded into the service. The monthly price will go from $11.99 to $13.99 when the tier (and ironically the cable network itself) is officially rebranded as “Paramount+ with SHOWTIME.” While Paramount executives didn’t give a specific date for the changes, they did confirm that they will go into effect in the “early third quarter” of 2022. So likely sometime in July or August.
So it was surprising when subscribers to the Paramount+ and SHOWTIME package began receiving emails from the streamer on Thursday, hours after the price hike was announced, informing them that their monthly fees would reduction in their next billing cycle.
The message read: “Great news! Effective 2/16/23, the price of the Paramount+ Premium plan with SHOWTIME® has been REDUCED, from $14.99/month or $149.99/year, to $11.99/month or $119.99/year. This is the new, low price for the Premium plan with SHOWTIME®. The pricing change will take effect at the beginning of your next billing cycle.”
This means that customers who were paying the extra $3 to have both services available on the Paramount+ app will see their monthly or annual bills drop to meet the current price of the standalone Premium plan. Presumably, those same customers will eventually see their prices go up when the price increase goes into effect in the fourth quarter, but for now, monthly subscribers will see their bills go down.
The same cannot technically be said for annual customers. Since the Paramount+ and SHOWTIME bundling option didn’t become available until late August, even early adopters likely won’t see the full price drop before the announced rate hikes take effect this summer. However, there will likely be a corresponding price adjustment up to the as-yet-unannounced annual equivalent of the $13.99 per month increase.
It’s curious that Paramount is choosing to drop the price for the bundled service now, rather than wait until the company’s full plans to merge the services and content libraries are complete. Perhaps this suggests that company executives plan to continue removing content before integration — as they did with Showtime series “Kidding,” “American Gigolo,” “On Becoming a God in Central Florida” and others, and Paramount+ shows , including Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone reboot, Michael Chiklis’ Coyote, Kate Beckinsale’s Guilty Party, and more.
If by routinely removing series from pre-merger services, Paramount worried about turning off users and risking churn, surprising them with an unexpected price cut—however temporary—could be enough to keep subscribers. in the summer.