Paramount+ ups the ante in the streaming wars

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More mergers in the streaming world could lead to better deals for consumers

The wave machine behind streaming services joining forces might be starting up again. Paramount+ and Showtime have announced that they’re merging their offerings later this year to try and match wits with other bundlers like Disney+.

According to reports, Paramount hopes the difference maker is that Paramount+ will become the first to integrate streaming and linear content in one place – something that it can easily pull off given its ownership of CBS-TV and all the live content it can add to the Paramount and Showtime libraries.

Mergers often reduce competition and lead to higher prices but industry experts say streaming may be a different animal, at least at this point. Companies are doing everything they can to increase subscribers.

While no price points have been published, it’s likely that viewers will get a much better deal than what they’re currently paying for Paramount+ and Showtime separately. At the moment, Paramount+ does offer an add-on that includes Showtime, but typically mergers of this kind usually lower monthly fees at least a couple of bucks.

Mergers = relief

If you subscribe to any streaming service, you’re probably stressed to the max with all the little dings on your credit card statement and all the subscription options these services offer. One media expert says that it’s all too much and that there’s yet to be any platform that offers a clear value and unique proposition to the consumer. 

“The recent news of the Paramount + and Showtime merger consolidating their business proves that the market has been saturated for far too long,” Dan Goman, CEO of Ateliere, told ConsumerAffairs.

“Most industry insiders and analysts believe this is a positive step required to ensure the company is streamlined and positioned for success under its new ‘streaming first’ initiative. With stiff financial and competitive pressures, being laser focused is critical to the success of the company.”

Goman thinks consumers will see more of this – and Paramount is in a good place to up the ante further. Paramount owns the now-free service Pluto, which has all of the classic fodder that CBS once owned, such as “FBI” and “NCIS.” Goman called Pluto an “obvious” opportunity for extending Paramount’s growth.

Who else is making waves?

The streaming war always seems to have a “me, too” component. No sooner does one company make noise that another chimes in with one of its own. Warner Bros. Discovery – which has the HBO and Discovery+ streams – is planning to merge HBO Max and Discovery+ sometime this spring.

Until another shoe drops, however, streamers are flooding the market with lots of packages to try and convert consumers who are looking for new options.

According to Jared Newman at CordCutterWeekly, there are six packages worth considering for deal seekers:

Paramount+:One month free (including Premium) by using promo code SERIEA or MATCH. New and returning subscribers only (see Newman's workaround on that roadblock below). 

Peacock Premium: Your New Year just got better. For a limited time, get one year of Peacock for only $29.99. Use code NEWYEAR23. New and returning subscribers, ends February 7. 

YouTube TV: First three months for $55 per month. (Reg. $65 per month.) New subscribers only.

Apple TV: You can get three months for free from Best Buy or Target. But again, new and returning subscribers only. Newman notes that with Family Sharing, multiple family members can redeem these offers and share with the rest of the group.

Sling TV: Get half off your first month. New subscribers only.

DirecTV Stream: Get $10 off for 12 months when you buy a DirecTV streaming box (which costs $120).

The only variable is time. As these things tend to go, they could be here today and gone tomorrow. So if one catches your interest, it’s best to act soon.

Newman offers a workaround for those “new subscribers only” requirements that’s kind of interesting. He said that if you think you’re out of luck on one of these deals because you’re already a subscriber or were one in the past, consider using a masked or secondary email address to sign up again.

“You can also set up a limited-use credit card so you don’t get auto-billed at regular price after the promo period,” he added.

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