Comcast and ViacomCBS Join Forces to Launch a New Streaming Service in Europe

David A. Grogan | CNBC
  • The service, dubbed “SkyShowtime,” is expected to launch in 2022, and will roll out in more than 20 countries.
  • The service includes libraries from Comcast-owned Sky and NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS.

Comcast and ViacomCBS are partnering to launch a European streaming service, the companies announced Wednesday.

The service, dubbed “SkyShowtime,” is expected to launch in 2022 and roll out in more than 20 European countries including Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. It will include libraries from Comcast-owned Sky and NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS brands like Showtime, Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures. The new service will include both new and previously released movies and TV series and will have more than 10,000 hours of content.

Comcast's NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS decided to partner together throughout much of Europe because each company felt there wasn't a large enough streaming appetite for multiple products in those countries, according to people familiar with the matter. Pricing will differ market to market, though it will be "competitive" with other products in all countries, said the people, who asked not to be named because the details are still private.

Shares of ViacomCBS rose nearly 5% at 2:15 p.m. ET. Comcast shares were largely flat.

The news comes just two weeks after ViacomCBS said it would partner with Sky to launch Paramount+ in Europe. Last month, several media outlets reported Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts and ViacomCBS Chairman Shari Redstone had reportedly met to discuss ways to work together.

SkyShowtime is structured as a joint venture with equal ownership from both companies. It will run on NBCUniversal's platform. Comcast chose to use the Sky branding, rather than Peacock, because it's better known in Europe, one of the people said.

Both NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS trail behind many of the streaming giants, with just 54 million Peacock sign-ups and 42 million streaming subscribers respectively. That puts them behind streaming giants like Netflix, Disney and Amazon.

Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.

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