Paramount and Charter Spectrum Ink New Carriage Deal, Including Paramount+

At a critical moment for the entertainment company, Paramount Global and cable TV giant Charter Communications have a deal.

Paramount, which owns CBS, Paramount+, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon and other brands, has cut a multi-year deal with Charter that will keep its networks available for Charter customers, and make the Paramount+ “Essential” tier available to Charter’s TV subscribers free of charge, as well as BET+ Essential.

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Later this year, Paramount+ Essential and BET+ Essential will become available across Spectrum TV Select packages and Mi Plan Latino customers through the Xumo Stream Box or any other Paramount+ supported device. The company will also offer users the chance to upgrade to the Paramount+ with Showtime plan.

Charter has also agreed to market Paramount’s direct-to-consumer products to its Internet-only customers to purchase at retail rates, with Charter receiving revenue share for new paid subscriptions and ad-free upgrades.

The Paramount+ with Showtime plan will continue to be available at no cost for Spectrum’s Paramount+ with Showtime linear customers as well.

The consequences of the talks with Charter are significant, with a blackout (if the companies were unable to reach a deal) impacting Paramount’s carriage and advertising revenue (Charter is the largest pay-TV provide in the U.S. with 14.1 million video subs).

And the deal comes at a pivotal moment for the company, which ousted CEO Bob Bakish on April 29, with a trio of executives handling CEO duties in his place. Paramount has also been holding talks with potential acquirers.

Charter has been playing hardball with its content providers ever since last year’s Disney blackout, with TelevisaUnivision following the entertainment giant in making its streaming services available to TV subs.

Of particular note: Unlike Disney, which agreed to drop some of its cable channels like Freeform, Disney Junior and FXX from Charter in order to get a deal done, Paramount says that the new deal will include “all of Paramount’s current cable networks,” like MTV, Comedy Central, BET and Nickelodeon, not to mention smaller channels like MTV2, Nick Jr. and Logo.

That being said, terms of the deal were not disclosed, so the economic breakdown between cable and Paramount+ is not clear, nor is the length, other than the fact that it is a “multi-year” deal. One cable source said they believed the parties would settle on a shorter two-year deal to account for the ongoign sale talks.

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