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Why Are Shows Vanishing From Paramount+ UK?

Paramount+ UK removes content from streaming service

by Dave Elliott

Over the past week, subscribers to Paramount+ UK came in for a bit of a surprise, as many booted up the service to discover series which they were halfway through had suddenly vanished from the system… Was this a glitch? Or was there another reason? We reached out to Paramount+ to ask.

The response, unfortunately, was not good. It seems there has been a “strategy shift” at Paramount Global, as the media company attempts to cut costs. The result of this is that they have ditched a number of international acquisitions, along with their own original series.

On the acquisition side, the most notable shows were FOX’s US remake of BBC drama Accused, which was only added to the service in January, and still had five more episodes to be added; And NBC’s reboot/remake of Quantum Leap‘. The entire first season of the latter had aired on the streaming service, however, Season 2 was slated to launch later in February, but now no longer has a UK broadcaster. CBC’s comedy Son of a Critch has also gone, despite a 3rd Season recently launching in its home country of Canada.

From their own Paramount+ Originals show, ‘The Burning Girls’, ‘One Night’, ‘The Killing Kind’, ‘The Serial Killer’s Wife’, ‘Chemistry of Death’ and ‘The Doll Factory’ have all been taken off the service.

Here is a list of what we know Paramount+ UK has removed so far:

  • Accused – UPDATE: 01/03/24 – Whilst Accused was initially removed, it’s now back on Paramount+ UK with all 15 episodes.
  • Quantum Leap – UPDATE: 29/03/24 – This was also initially removed but is now back on Paramount+ UK with all Season 1 episodes.
  • Minx
  • Son of a Critch
  • The Thing About Pam
  • No Escape
  • The Killing Kind
  • The Burning Girls
  • The Doll Factory
  • The Serial Killer’s Wife
  • The Chemistry of Death
  • One Night
  • The Sheikh
  • Death’s Roulette
  • Rise of the Billionaires
  • Fever Pitch
  • Love Rats
  • Blowing LA
  • The Gold
  • Hauntings
  • Hot Yachts
  • Strip

Sadly, streaming services pulling content is nothing new, as we saw last year when Disney+ yanked a stack of its original series from the service such as ‘Willow’, ‘The World According To Jeff Goldblum’, and ‘Dollface’ from their service in an attempt to cut costs. WBD’s MAX streamer in the USA also did something similar with a number of its original shows. What was rather shocking with Paramount+ was that the removal came with no warning or announcement, meaning that people who were halfway through watching these series suddenly found them no longer available.

How does removing content from a streaming service save them money?

You might think it saves on paying residuals (i.e. the money actors, writers, etc… get when a show airs) to the people involved, and that is true… Although, as we’ve heard a lot recently during last year’s strikes by the actors and writer’s guilds, the residuals are a tiny, tiny, part of that cost.

The bigger cost is license fees. As ridiculous as it may sound, even if a show is made by the studio arm of a company for its own streaming service – e.g. 20th Television making something for Disney+ – the streamer still has to pay a license fee to the producing studio for the content if it is sitting on the service. Yes, it is essentially stirring money around in the same big pot, but in order to look profitable, and to give the illusion of fairness, that is the way it has to be done.

Look at it this way – if a streaming service got given all its content for “free” by other subsidiaries of its parent company (i.e. Paramount+ getting all CBS Studios content for free because they are both owned by Paramount Global), the streaming service would look to be racking in the cash… But, the studios making that content would be seeing a massive loss as they aren’t getting “paid” for their work.

So, to save money, the streaming service looks at its catalogue of shows, sees what is underperforming (i.e. no one is watching), or, in the case of acquired shows, what is expensive to license, pulls them from streaming, and takes something called an “impairment charge”. That means the streaming service is saying “we don’t think this is worth the money we paid for it” and can “write off” the cost of that show. The show is “impaired” for a specific length of time (e.g. 12 months), where it can not be added back to the service. After that, it could be impaired again or added back on.

So, where does that leave things?

Shows such as ‘Accused’ and ‘Quantum Leap’ are not made by Paramount but acquired from outside producers. With Paramount+ removing them, it seems likely the UK broadcast rights to those shows will revert back to the producers. That means there is potential that the producers/distributors of those shows could sell them on to another UK broadcaster. As to who, when and where? That’s anyone’s guess at this point…

For the Paramount+ Originals which were removed, Paramount could also opt to sell those to someone else, at which point they then subtract the money they make from selling it from the impairment charge. Or they could just leave them in a dark hole never to be seen again…

So, that is where we are. Should any of these shows pop up somewhere else in the UK, we will, of course, let you know. You can also track many of these TV series by adding them via our Never Miss system, and you’ll be notified if/when they get a UK premiere date.

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