Bringing the Sky branding to the Nordics for the first time, the subscription video on demand service SkyShowtime, a Paramount and Comcast joint venture, launched in the Nordic countries at the end of September 2022. Paramount+ had a longstanding presence in the Nordics, originally launching in 2017 as a VOD service available on a variety of pay TV platforms, before also launching a direct-to-consumer service in March 2021.
Upon its launch, SkyShowtime replaced Paramount+, which had hit around 1.9 million subscribers in the Nordics, largely thanks to its partnerships with pay TV providers, which helped grow the brand from 2017 onwards. Building on this, Ampere Analysis expects subscriptions to SkyShowtime in the Nordics to pass 2 million in 2024.
In Portugal and the Netherlands, however, where SkyShowtime launched at the end of October 2022, there was no existing Paramount+ service, so the platform had no existing streaming subscribers to leverage. While SkyShowtime’s pricing of €6.99 in the Netherlands and €4.99 in Portugal puts it at the cheaper end of subscription OTT services in the countries, it also offers a “lifetime discount” of 50% to early subscribers to the service (something HBO Max also did in the Netherlands) which may attract some early adopters. That said, the current macroeconomic conditions are not favorable, and particularly due to high rates of inflation all over Europe, initial uptake of new services is likely to be low, according to Ampere Analysis.
“As a result, it is more difficult for new operators to unseat existing services in the streaming portfolio, particularly as neither Sky nor the Showtime brand are well-known on the Dutch or Portuguese market. As such, a way to drive SkyShowtime's growth in non-Paramount+ markets such as these will be to adopt a similar strategy to Paramount+ and partner with local pay TV operators, such as KPN in the Netherlands or NOS in Portugal. Such deals make the service more convenient and affordable to consumers, and also increase awareness of the SkyShowtime brand via these established platforms,” said Jaanika Juntson, Analyst at Ampere Analysis and the author of the report.