Axios: ‘Warner Bros. Discovery in Talks to Merge With Paramount’

Sara Fischer, reporting for Axios:

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav met with Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish on Tuesday in New York City to discuss a possible merger, Axios has learned from multiple sources. [...] Zaslav also has spoken to Shari Redstone, who owns Paramount’s parent company, about a deal.

WBD’s market value was around $29 billion as of Wednesday, while Paramount’s was just over $10 billion, so any merger would not be of equals. The meeting between Zaslav and Bakish, which sources say lasted several hours, took place at Paramount’s headquarters in Times Square. The duo discussed ways their companies could complement one another. For example, each company’s main streaming service — Paramount+ and Max — could merge to better rival Netflix and Disney+.

Merging the streaming platforms would be a certainty. Consolidation is coming — sooner rather than later — to the streaming industry, and Paramount+ has no chance whatsoever on its own. They just don’t have nearly enough original prestige-quality content, and their low-quality filler content is just shows from CBS that you can get for free on regular TV. But because they do own CBS, it limits their options for who they can merge with — Disney owns ABC and Comcast owns NBC, so they’re out. Make Paramount a studio within Warner Bros. Discovery, close Paramount+, and add all the content to Max. This seems so obvious I’d bet it will happen.

Look, I’m an idiot — money falls through my hands like water (as my late friend Dean Allen said of himself) — so I stay subscribed to too many streaming services. Smart industrious people pay attention to what’s being offered and what they’re actually watching on each streaming service, and churn — subscribe for a month or two, watch the thing you wanted to watch, and then unsubscribe. Dumb lazy people like me subscribe to a service to watch one show and then just stay subscribed. That was me with Paramount+, and the show was The Offer — an excellent 10-part series about the development and production of The Godfather.* I watched that last year and yet lo, here I am, still paying $12/month for Paramount+. I keep telling myself I’m going to watch the third season of Picard but I ought to just give up, cancel my subscription today, and just wait for the merger and for Picard to show up inside Max. Of all the streaming services I’ve pissed good money away on by remaining subscribed to them while watching very little or not all, Paramount+ is probably the worst. (MGM+ is giving me a “Hold my beer.”)

* I’d promise to stay subscribed to Paramount+ if they promised to make a sequel/spin-off starring Matthew Goode as Robert Evans, who, in my opinion, just fucking stole The Offer.

Thursday, 21 December 2023