TV Answer Man, I don’t understand the deal with Showtime and Paramount+. Are they coming together? Will Showtime still have a channel on DIRECTV? Can we watch Showtime now on Paramount+. I am very confused. — Shelley, Corsicana, Texas. 

Shelley, Paramount yesterday issued a memo to employees that revealed that Showtime will soon merge with Paramount+, the streaming service. That means that Showtime’s programming will be integrated in the Paramount+ app and that the Paramount+ app and the pay TV channel now known as Showtime will become Paramount+ with Showtime. (Variety was the first to report on the memo.)

There are three major reasons for the consolidation:

1. The streaming category has become overcrowded with well-financed players such as HBO Max, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, making it difficult for some smaller services to survive. By putting Showtime in Paramount+, Paramount gives the latter a chance to compete more successfully with the big boys by creating an offering with more varied programming.

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2. The nation could be headed into recession this year and companies are looking to cut costs in every quarter. The joining of Paramount+ and Showtime will enable Paramount to reduce employees and expenses.

3. The new Paramount+ With Showtime, which will combine the content of both, should make for a more attractive partner for a merger with an outside company. In addition to cost-cutting, consolidation is likely to be a hot topic in TV boardrooms this year.

As for the question of when you can watch Showtime on Paramount+, you can actually do that now. Paramount+ sells a bundle of the two services for $11.99 a month. However, when the merger takes place later this year (no date has been announced), Showtime will be included in the Paramount+ Premium plan, which now goes for $9.99 a month.

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It’s unknown if Paramount will raise the Premium plan price when Showtime is added.

Shelley, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann