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US entertainment giant Paramount has signed a deal that will see its Paramount+ streaming platform launched and pushed through MultiChoice in Africa. 

Paramount Global’s content distribution unit announced a licensing deal on Monday with MultiChoice to create a Paramount+ “branded destination” on the African pay TV operator’s platform.

Paramount Global was formed in 2019 through the merger of US media companies Viacom and CBS. It first operated as ViacomCBS before it was renamed Paramount Global in 2022.

Paramount+ is the company’s online video streaming service. 

This week’s agreement “is part of Paramount’s strategy to expand the Paramount+ brand in more ways around the world, including making it available as a direct-to-consumer streaming service, through bundled partnerships in key markets as well as through branded destinations in local markets through licensing deals.”

MultiChoice, the target of a recent takeover bid by France’s Canal+, has been doubling down on its online streaming efforts, signing several deals in the past two years in a bid to set up Africa’s largest paid TV operator as the biggest gatekeeper to paying audiences who stream content.

A new, updated version of Showmax, underpinned by technology from US giant NBC Universal, began operating in February. 

Agreements with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Disney, NBC Universal, Canal+, Sky, and now Paramount, are likely to bring all streaming content under one roof so consumers don’t have to pay multiple subscriptions. 

MultiChoice has carried content from Paramount for decades through DStv and with the advent of streaming, through Showmax too.

The two companies did not say how the branded destination will work or be served to MultiChoice’s customers. This will most likely be done through Showmax, where a dedicated section for Paramount content already exists. In addition, the group could create a dedicated channel on DStv or section on DStv Now with content specifically from Paramount. 

Paramount has used this strategy to grow its reach in several regions. It has branded offerings available via Cosmote in Greece, Streamz in Belgium, Blast TV in the Philippines and JioCinema in India, and more deals are expected.

Paramount struck a similar deal with Latam Airlines to have a dedicated section for its content through the airline’s in-flight entertainment offering. 

The deal with MultiChoice appears to be Paramount’s largest in terms of gaining access to a specific region. MultiChoice has 22-million subscribers across 16 countries in Africa.

The deal gives its customers access to content from CBS, Paramount+ Originals, Showtime and Paramount Pictures. 

“The expansion of our long-standing relationship with MultiChoice from a traditional licensing deal to a fully dedicated, Paramount+ branded destination on the platform is a testament to the tremendous effort of Paramount Global to continue to build the offering from multiple content pillars,” said Lisa Kramer, president for international content licensing at Paramount Global content distribution.

“Consumers in the growing African market already equate Paramount with quality entertainment and we’re thrilled to now offer them a devoted space in which they can both access their favourite programming and discover new hit titles.”

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