SkyShowtime CEO Monty Sarhan on “Megahit” Yellowstone, Ad Tier Plans, and How Streaming Rules Still Apply

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Monty Sarhan, CEO of SkyShowtime, the European streaming joint venture of Comcast and Paramount, recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the streamer’s first year, its original content strategy, recent distribution deals, and the decision to launch an ad-supported tier. Here are the key takeaways:

SkyShowtime Launches Ad Tier, Offers More Choice to Consumers

  • SkyShowtime announced the launch of a new ad-supported tier, the Standard with Ads plan, across all its 20+ markets in April 2024.
  • This move aims to provide consumers with “an even more affordable entertainment choice for the entire family.”
  • Sarhan emphasizes that SkyShowtime remains committed to offering value, citing its lower launch price compared to competitors like Netflix and Disney+.
SkyShowtime CEO Monty Sarhan
SkyShowtime CEO Monty Sarhan

Consumers Still Crave Choice: Ad Tier Meets a Growing Demand

  • Sarhan believes in providing flexibility and options to cater to diverse consumer preferences.
  • He highlights that the ad tier launch aligns with traditional TV models, where both ad-supported and ad-free options have coexisted for decades.
  • SkyShowtime’s ad tier will be priced competitively, offering an entry point lower than Max and Netflix in most markets.

SkyShowtime Prioritizes Value and Content Strength

  • Despite the price increase for the ad-free plan, SkyShowtime emphasizes its commitment to value by offering the ad tier at a lower price point.
  • Sarhan boasts a strong content library, including exclusive rights to the “Yellowstone” universe and global hits like “Halo” and “Poker Face.”
  • He also mentions SkyShowtime’s extensive library of Hollywood box office movies and iconic franchises like Star Trek.

Reaching New Audiences with Local Content and Growth Mode

  • SkyShowtime recognizes the importance of local content and its role in attracting new subscribers.
  • The streamer is actively investing in local originals, with 10 already launched in 2023 and more on the way.
  • Examples include “Veronika” (Nordics) and “Los Enviados” season 2 (Spanish), showcasing SkyShowtime’s commitment to diverse European content.
  • While subscriber numbers are not disclosed, Sarhan assures continued growth and market expansion in 2024.

Monty Sirhan’s Final Thoughts

  • SkyShowtime is excited about the ad tier launch and its potential to reach new audiences while offering flexibility to existing subscribers.
  • The focus remains on delivering great entertainment at a great price, emphasizing value and a diverse content library.
  • With continued investment in local content and originals, SkyShowtime aims to solidify its position as a major player in the European streaming landscape.
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