Media stocks jump after report says Apple, Paramount are discussing streaming bundle

TV remote control is seen with Paramount+ logo displayed on a screen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on February 6, 2022.

Media stocks jumped Friday following a Wall Street Journal report that Apple and Paramount Global are in early-stage talks to offer a bundle of the two company’s streaming platforms.

The companies have talked about bundling Apple TV+ and Paramount+ in an offering that would cost less than subscribing to the two separately, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Shares of Paramount closed up nearly 10% Friday, while Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns streaming service Max, closed up more than 8%. Paramount is down about 6% on the year, while Warner Bros. Discovery, which reported a streaming profit in the third quarter, is up about 19%.

Apple and Paramount did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Paramount+ and Apple TV+ could be an ideal match for a bundle given their differing content strategies. Apple TV+ is known to offer a robust library of exclusive and prestige content, while Paramount+ boasts a larger back-catalog of recognizable TV shows and movies.

The report comes as talk heats up in the media industry about bundling rival streaming services together.

Streaming leader Netflix and Max entered into an agreement with Verizon to bundle the two services at a reported $10 a month, less than the $17 the combination would normally cost, the Journal previously reported. Liberty Media Chairman and Warner Bros. Discovery board member John Malone has often discussed what streaming bundles could look like. Disney currently offers a bundle of Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+.

The trend has extended beyond streaming. Following a dispute earlier this year, Disney and Charter entered into an agreement where some Spectrum customers would gain access to the ad-supported Disney+ plan, a move some experts predict could become more common.

An Apple partnership could be a strong opportunity to help Paramount pivot in the rapidly changing media environment. Paramount’s controlling shareholder Shari Redstone has been open to making big deals, CNBC has reported, as the company suffers from declining revenue and streaming losses.

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