Showtime May Soon Announce Standalone Streaming Service

happyishBack in Nov. 2014, CBS CEO Les Moonves said that his company’s Showtime network would “fairly definitively” launch some sort of standalone streaming service in 2015. Since then, there hasn’t really been much news about it. But since HBO has launched HBO Now without the world coming to an end, it looks like it might be time for CBS to unveil that service.

The Street reports that CBS may announce a standalone Showtime product when the media giant announces its next earnings report in early May.

The network is reportedly talking to possible distribution partners to sell the service directly to consumers.

It could go with Apple, who currently has a near-exclusive with HBO for HBO Now (the only other seller for the service is Cablevision, which is limited to customers with its Optimum broadband service).

Showtime could also go with Dish or Sony, both of which recently launched their own live-TV streaming services.

Dish’s Sling already sells something similar to HBO Now, but it’s different in two important ways. First, unlike HBO Now, HBO on Sling offers both live and on-demand access to the network; HBO Now is solely on-demand in its current form. Second, in order to get HBO from Sling, you need to also have the Sling $20/month base package. HBO Now is a true standalone service in that you only need an Internet connection.

Adding Showtime as a premium stream on Sling might make better sense than Sony’s PlayStation Vue, which is currently only available in three markets — New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago. However, Vue does carry some CBS-owned channels, while Dish and CBS have had some very public feuds; though that tense relationship appeared more at ease after the two companies’ last contract renewal.

Interestingly, Showtime’s current on-demand app, Showtime Anytime, offers users the ability to stream the network live to your mobile devices. If the network ports that functionality over to a standalone service, that might make it even more appealing.

CBS would likely try to sell Showtime at the same $15/month price point as HBO Now, though the show doesn’t currently have any single piece of original content that compares to HBO’s Game of Thrones juggernaut.

As you can see from the below screengrab, CBS recently applied for a trademark on “Showtime 3,” for a product described as “Broadcasting services, namely transmitting and streaming digital audio, video, graphics, text and data, rendered through the media of telelvision, cable, satellite, radio, telephone and broadband systems, and via the internet, portable and wireless communications devices.”


This could just be another channel that Showtime is adding to its lineup of sub-networks. There is already a Showtime 2, but the network has eschewed numbers in subsequent offerings, choosing instead things like Showtime Beyond, Showtime Extreme, Showtime Family Zone, Showtime Next, and Showtime Women.