Showtime, HBO Broaden Scope as Parent Companies Aim to Grow Their Audiences

  • Variety
Showtime, HBO Broaden Scope as Parent Companies Aim to Grow Their Audiences
For years, the halo around premium cablers such as HBO and Showtime has been integral to their branding. Their parent companies in a past life — Time Warner and CBS, respectively — seemed to be content with the tens of millions of subscribers each had accumulated. But now, shepherded by new corporate owners — AT&T’s WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS — each appears to be welcoming new ways to use their household names to attract a wider audience.

On ViacomCBS’ first earnings call as a newly merged company, chief exec Bob Bakish laid out plans on Feb. 20 to synergize some of the conglomerate’s entertainment brands. VH1’s popular “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars,” for example, will air a new season first on Showtime, the network that’s home to “Shameless,” “Homeland” and “Billions.”

Bakish called Showtime, which has more than 27 million linear and streaming subscribers, a “powerful, important brand with culture-defining hits, but
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