Paramount+, the self-proclaimed home of Star Trek, removed all ten original franchise films from its platform on January 1 and moved them all to Max.
Star Trek The Motion Picture, The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock, The Voyage Home, The Final Frontier, and The Undiscovered Country have all made the move to Max, as well as Generations, First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis.
The more modern films, Star Trek (2009), Into Darkness, and Beyond, all part of the Kelvin timeline, will remain at Paramount+.
The films make the voyage to Max as Paramount Global negotiates a potential merger with Warner Bros. Discovery, although the licensing agreement with Max is unrelated. The same batch of films temporarily switched to Max in November 2022 and rejoined Paramount+ last July.
The streamer purged Star Trek content throughout 2023. Paramount+ canceled Star Trek: Prodigy, an animated adventure series, after only one season, with a second in the works. Due to uproar from fans, Netflix picked up the series and the licensing rights for both seasons, the first debuting on its new home base last Christmas.
The move marks a growing trend of media companies moving away from strictly streaming their content on their own streaming services and shifting back to the days of licensing agreements to determine where titles play.
Star Trek isn’t the only content leaving Paramount+ this month. Several Nickelodeon series have been cut from the platform as well, including The Fairly Oddparents: Fairly Odder, Snow Day, and Fantasy Football, to cut operational costs ahead of the platform’s merger with SHOWTIME, according to Nick Alive.
Paramount+ has faced financial struggles since it launched in 2021 and has yet to turn a profit in its run so far. Although the company hoped to keep Star Trek on its platform, licensing deals with other streaming services help keep Paramount+ afloat as it discusses a possible agreement with Warner Bros. Discovery. Paramount+ previously made lucrative licensing deals with Netflix for the international streaming rights for early seasons of Discovery, and with Prime Video for Picard and Lower Decks.
While dispersing the Star Trek franchise and other popular titles across streaming platforms is a strategic move for Paramount+, fans could grow frustrated with jumping streaming services to watch everything. Paramount+, Max, and Disney+ saw a loss in subscribers last year, and there has been an overall decline in members over costs.
Cord cutters are scaling back on the number of paid streaming services they keep, opting to use free ad-supported platforms to offset costs. One franchise split between several streaming services could increase subscriber churn, which platforms strive to avoid by adding value to their existing offerings. However, eliminating a popular and lengthy franchise like the Star Trek films may anger die-hard fans who can no longer find everything in one app.
Paramount + and Max were not available for comment.