Showtime, Starz see streaming subs surge in Q3

ViacomCBS credited the growth at Showtime to original series like "The Chi." (Showtime)

Premium networks Showtime and Starz both recorded strong growth in streaming subscribers during the third quarter.

Showtime parent company ViacomCBS reports combined domestic streaming subscribers for Showtime OTT and CBS All Access, which will be rebranded as Paramount+ in 2021. The company said it closed out the third quarter with 17.9 million streaming subscribers, up 72% year over year and nearly past the subscriber goal the company had set for the end of 2020.

The new total suggests that Showtime OTT may be nearing 8 million subscribers. At previous count, CBS All Access and Showtime OTT had a combined 16.2 million subscribers. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Showtime has 27 million subscribers and that 7 million of those subscribe to Showtime OTT.

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Pluto TV, ViacomCBS’s free ad-supported streaming service, also continued to grow its user base and advertising revenue. Pluto TV’s domestic monthly active users (MAUs) reached 28.4 million, up 57% year over year, and international users grew to 7.5 million. The company said Pluto TV should end the year with 30 million domestic MAUs and more than 40 million when factoring in international users.

Starz appears to have grown even faster than Showtime during the third quarter. Parent company Lionsgate said Starz reported its best domestic OTT subscriber growth quarter ever as subscribers increased to 9.2 million, up from 7.4 million in the prior quarter. The company's global OTT subscribers (including STARZPLAY Arabia, a non-consolidated equity method investee, and PANTAYA) increased by 2.3 million in the quarter to 13.7 million.

Last month, WarnerMedia reported that total domestic HBO and HBO Max subscribers exceeded 38 million while 8.6 million customers have activated HBO Max. It’s an increase over the 36.3 million HBO and HBO Max subscribers and 4.1 million HBO Max activations the company counted at the end of the second quarter.