Showtime OTT ‘strong enough’ to stand alone from Paramount+

Showtime originals include "Desus & Mero." (Showtime)

CBS All Access is slated for an overhaul in 2021, when it will become a supersized SVOD named Paramount+. But Showtime OTT will continue to gut it out as is.

ViacomCBS Bob Bakish told the Wall Street Journal that Showtime OTT is “strong enough to stand on its own.” That’s partly due to the growth the streaming service has seen in 2020. During ViacomCBS’s most recent earnings call, Bakish said that the second quarter was the best ever in terms of subscriber growth at Showtime OTT and said that the service has added more subscribers in the first six months of 2020 than in the previous two and a half years combined.

At last count, CBS All Access and Showtime OTT had a combined 16.2 million subscribers and were on track to have 18 million combined by the end of 2020. According to the report, Showtime has 27 million subscribers and that 7 million of those subscribe to Showtime OTT.

RELATED: CBS All Access will become Paramount+ in 2021

Showtime CEO David Nevins partly attributed Showtime’s growth to its willingness to strike distribution deals with everyone since it has “no ulterior motives to support a distribution system.” Peers like AT&T’s HBO Max and Comcast’s Peacock are still missing distribution agreements with major streaming platforms like Roku and Amazon – though Peacock this week did finally reach a deal with Roku.

Showtime OTT and CBS All Access were two of the first streaming services to jump into bed with Apple TV+. In August, Apple announced that U.S. subscribers to its streaming video service can now get both CBS All Access (without ads) and Showtime for $9.99 per month. The offer represents a 50% discount off the price for both services combined.

As Showtime OTT continues on, ViacomCBS is preparing to turn All Access into Paramount+, which will launch in current All Access markets along with Australia, Latin America and the Nordics in 2021.

Leading up to the early 2021 rebrand to Paramount+, CBS All Access will expand its content offering to more than 30,000 episodes and movies and continue to develop additional original series. In July, the service added more than 3,500 episodes from networks including BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Smithsonian Channel. Paramount+ will also feature original programming and exclusives like the upcoming “The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run.”