Paramount Global has clinched a deal that is crucial to its future — but it’s not the transaction that Wall Street has been buzzing about for a few weeks.
Paramount Global and Comcast have extended the broad carriage agreement covering Paramount’s cable channels and CBS-owned stations. The pact averts the prospect of a blackout for CBS stations and Paramount channels across Comcast’s cable systems, which reach about video 14.5 million subscribers and 29 million broadband subscribers.
A Paramount spokeswoman confirmed early Saturday that the deal has been completed but no details were provided. The agreement covers “Paramount’s leading portfolio of entertainment, news and sports channels and apps across [Comcast’s] Xfinity platforms.” It’s understood to be essentially an extension of the deal the sides reached in January 2022.
Shoring up the contract with the nation’s largest cable operator is important for Paramount Global’s long-term financial health. It also comes as Paramount Global has been the subject of M&A rumors for several weeks with suitors including Skydance Media and Warner Bros. Discovery circling the owner of Paramount Pictures, Paramount+ , CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, Comedy Central, BET Networks and other channels. Comcast itself is also seen as a possible contender if Paramount Global chair Shari Redstone decides that the time is right for a transformative deal for the media assets her father, Sumner Redstone, assembled in the 1980s and ’90s.
Although the deal is an extension, the terms will still be studied carefully as a bellwether for what kind of profits legacy media giants can still pull out of linear cable even as most of the industry’s resources and creative energy is directed to building new streaming platforms. Paramount Global has had an uphill climb amid the rapid-fire changes in the pay TV eco-system during the past decade.
Comcast is also the parent company of NBCUniversal, which puts that conglomerate in the center of changes spurred by cord-cutting among traditional cable subscribers. Comcast, Charter Communications and other large cable operators are increasingly focused on building up broadband residential and business services that can offer subscribers easy access to a broad menu of streaming services, FAST channels and more.