Hollywood Giants Eye Streaming Video Partnership Amid Consolidation

ViacomCBS (VIAC) and Comcast (CMCSA) have reportedly discussed a streaming partnership for international markets to better compete with Netflix (NFLX) and Walt Disney (DIS). Comcast stock rose, while Viacom dipped.


Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and ViacomCBS Chairwoman Shari Redstone met in recent weeks to discuss a potential streaming-video partnership, sources told the Wall Street Journal.

The meeting was held in New York around the end of June. It also included Robert Bakish, the CEO of ViacomCBS.

In May, ViacomCBS said its Paramount+ streaming service would be in 45 markets by 2022. Comcast also is looking to boost Peacock, the streaming service from its NBCUniversal division.

ViacomCBS and Comcast are playing catch-up in streaming video. They launched after Disney+ and and have seen that service become a credible threat to streaming giant Netflix, while their own services go through growing pains.

Bundling services from the media companies could help them better compete with Netflix and Disney+. Meanwhile, the Journal also reported Tuesday that “Ted Lasso” maker Apple (AAPL) is looking to lease a production hub in Los Angeles and expand in the competitive streaming landscape.

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Comcast Stock, Streaming Stocks

Shares of ViacomCBS eased 0.6% to $39.63 on the stock market today. Comcast stock added 0.3%, Netflix fell 1.9%, and Disney rose 0.9%. The relative strength lines for all four video streaming stocks are lagging. Apple gained 1.5%.

ViacomCBS and Comcast may also be potential candidates for a merger, the Journal said.

In fact, the media industry continues to consolidate after Disney’s blockbuster deal for Fox’s entertainment assets.

AT&T‘s (T) WarnerMedia and Discovery (DISCA) joined forces in May to spin off HBO Max as a separate business.

Also in May, Amazon (AMZN) agreed to buy MGM Studios.

Meanwhile, Netflix and Disney’s Disney+ are both seeing subscriber growth slow, according to reports. As the pandemic wanes, more people are heading to movie theaters and other entertainment venues.

Find Aparna Narayanan on Twitter at @IBD_Aparna.


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