Showtime is an American premium television network that is owned by ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks, and is the flagship property of parent subsidiary under its Premium Content Group unit, Showtime Networks. Showtime's programming primarily includes theatrically released motion pictures and original television series, along with boxing and mixed martial arts matches, occasional stand-up comedy specials, and made-for-TV movies.
Headquartered at Paramount Plaza on the northern end of New York City's Broadway district, Showtime operates eight 24-hour, linear multiplex channels; a traditional subscription video on demand service; and two proprietary streaming platforms, the TV Everywhere offering Showtime Anytime (which is included as part of a subscription to the linear Showtime television service) and a namesake over-the-top service sold directly to streaming-only consumers. In addition, the Showtime brand has been licensed for use by a number of channels and platforms worldwide, including Showtime Arabia (since merged into OSN) in the Middle East and North Africa, and the now-defunct Showtime Movie Channels in Australia.
Showtime is also sold independently of traditional and over-the-top multichannel video programming distributors a la carte through Apple TV Channels and Amazon Video Channels, which feature VOD library content and live feeds of Showtime's linear television services (consisting of the primary channel's East and West Coast feeds and, for Amazon Video customers, the East Coast feeds of its seven multiplex channels). As of September 2018, Showtime's programming was available to approximately 28.567 million U.S. households that subscribed to a multichannel television provider (28.318 million of which receive Showtime's primary channel at minimum).
Showtime was launched on July 1, 1976 on Times-Mirror Cable systems in Escondido, Long Beach and Palos Verdes, California through the conversion of 10,000 subscribers of the previous Channel One franchise. The following week on July 8, Showtime launched on Viacom Cablevision's system in Dublin, California; the channel was originally owned by Viacom. The first program and television special to be broadcast on Showtime was Celebration, a concert special featuring performances by Rod Stewart, Pink Floyd and ABBA. By the end of its first year on the air, Showtime had a total of 55,000 subscribers nationwide. On March 7, 1978, Showtime became a nationally distributed service after it was uplinked to satellite, turning it into a competitor with HBO and other pay cable networks.