Comcast, Paramount In Talks to Combine Streaming Platforms | Report

The parents of NBC and CBS could combine Peacock and Paramount+, which lag behind larger streaming players

Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford in Paramount+ Yellowstone prequel 1923
James Minchin III/Paramount+

Paramount Global and Comcast are talking about a tie-up. The two entertainment conglomerates are in talks that could lead to a joint venture or partnership in streaming, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing people familiar with the situation.

The report raises the possibility of an unprecedented link between the parents of two of the three legacy television networks, NBC and CBS.

Comcast’s Peacock, which relies heavily on its reality programming and its deep film library, passed Paramount+ in the 2023 fourth quarter in total catalog demand. Meanwhile, the latter’s strong lineup of original programming, led by the Taylor Sheridan-verse “Yellowstone” franchise, has boosted viewership.

Even so, the two streamers lag well behind Netflix, Max, Hulu and Disney+ in total viewership. Bringing them together could help slash costs and create a “more in-depth offering for consumers,” The Journal reported, pointing in particular to their live sports offerings.

Paramount declined to comment on that Journal report. Comcast also had no comment, but pointed to prior statements about the growth of Peacock and its support from leadership going forward.

Comcast is known for its soccer and football broadcasts, while Sunday’s Super Bowl set a new viewership record for Paramount+. That strength in sports could be one way to challenge the juggernaut joint venture announced by ESPN, Fox Sports and Warner Bros. Discovery earlier this month.

The talks reflect efforts across the industry to find ways to make streaming pull in profits to offset declines in pay-TV subscribers and tackle the high costs of running the streaming services.

The report comes amid continued speculation about the overall fate of Paramount Global, which is reportedly considering a sale of the entire company or some of its parts. Byron Allen’s company offered $14 billion last month for all of Paramount Global, one of several outfits reportedly interested in the company. Paramount CEO Bob Bakish has also held talks with Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav about a merger.

Paramount shares dipped 2.3% to $12.32 in midday trading, after closing Thursday’s session down 74% in the past year. Comcast shares also dipped, giving up 1% to $41.25, but maintaining most of their 22% gain over the past year. The broader markets were also down a fraction.

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