A brand new international SVOD service named SkyShowtime could be made available to no fewer than 14 Central and East European markets within a matter of months.
On August 18 it was announced that Comcast has entered into a partnership with ViacomCBS to launch the service, which will bring together a wide variety of content from NBCUniversal, Sky and ViacomCBS, including titles from Showtime, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, Paramount+ Originals, Sky Studios, Universal Pictures and Peacock.
Subject to regulatory approvals, it will launch in 22 European countries, the majority in CEE – Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia – at some stage next year.
SkyShowtime will be operated as a joint venture between Comcast and ViacomCBS and it is significant that it will not be available in the Sky markets (UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria) where Paramount+, following a recent agreement between Sky and ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI), is due to launch in 2022. Nor will it launch in Russia, where Paramount+ has been available on the Okko OTT platform since June last year.
For viewers in CEE, SkyShowtime will join a growing list of international SVOD services they are offered. Aside from Netflix, present in the region since early 2016, they include Amazon Prime Video and will from summer 2022 be joined by Disney+. A delayed HBO Max, currently focused on expansion into Latin America, is also likely to be added to the mix next year.
By launching SkyShowtime, Comcast and ViacomCBS will demonstrate their willingness to work together rather than compete in markets such as Europe. They will also underline their determination to compete with the likes of Netflix and Disney+ on a global scale.
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