Watch out, Netflix: Paramount Plus and Peacock are considering merging

Paramount Plus and Peacock streaming apps visible on the Roku homescreen
(Image credit: Roku)

Paramount Plus must be feeling pretty popular right now. Following reports that Warner Bros. Discovery was considering some kind of merger with the streamer, and then reports that media entrepreneur Byron Allen was considering purchasing it, it now seems that the latest suitor to come a-wooing the service is Comcast, owner of Peacock.

That's according to the Wall Street Journal, which implies that Comcast and Paramount have been sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G or as the WSJ put it, they've been having talks about a potential streaming partnership that would see Paramount Plus and Peacock being bundled together in a single subscription. 

That would not only mean that subscribers and consumers would have a cheaper way to access the two of the best streaming services each month, but it would also deliver streamers' very favorite thing: cost savings. 

Everybody's bundling to boost their streaming sign-ups

Bundling appears to be a recurring theme for streamers. We've seen Disney bundling Disney Plus with other services such as Star and ESPN Plus, Verizon bundling Netflix with Max, ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. teaming up and Apple apparently discussing a Paramount Plus and Apple TV Plus bundle too. 

AdWeek describes the current landscape as streaming's "messy era". It says that "experts expect more consolidation, bundling and licensing in the upcoming year as streamers and networks reach across the aisle to fight fragmentation and reduce churn". 

What it means by churn is the number of subscribers who stop paying for a service over a particular period. It's generally considered a bad thing, because retaining existing customers is typically cheaper than attracting new ones.

It's a shame that the streamers aren't also considering another way to reduce churn, such as not putting up their prices and reducing the quality of their service. Just days after it emerged that Amazon was not only putting ads into Prime Video but also removing Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision unless subscribers paid more money, I got an email from Disney Plus last night telling me that my annual subscription, which expires next month, was going up from £79.90 to £109.90 – a 36% increase. 

It's not a surprise – I've known about the price hike since it was announced before Christmas – but it's a huge hike that once again is making me reconsider whether I'm watching enough TV on any specific service to stomach such a big price hike. Many of my friends are doing the same, and that's typically ending up with them cancelling at least one streaming subscription that they'd previously been happy to pay. Some of my friends are down from four or five subscriptions to just one.

Bundling is one way of improving the perceived value of streaming subscriptions, but in order to be effective the bundles need to be something that people feel is delivering value. The trap that streamers don't want to fall into is to simply replicate the bad old days of cable when, as Bruce Springsteen sang, you'd pay for fifty-seven channels and nothin' on.

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Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.