After months of buildup, ViacomCBS next week is set to flip the switch for Paramount Plus — its bulked-up streaming platform engineered to throw bigger elbows in an increasingly crowded market.
For now, the pricing won’t change. But this summer, the media conglomerate will lower the entry-level price for Paramount Plus, the new name of the rebranded CBS All Access.
The base, ad-supported tier of Paramount Plus, launching in June, will cost $4.99 per month — a dollar less than the current entry-level CBS All Access package with commercials. The full Paramount Plus premium tier with no ads (except in live programming) will be the same, at $9.99 per month.
There’s an important caveat, though: The $5 monthly plan for Paramount Plus, while it will include live sports including NFL games, will exclude local CBS stations. In June, the previous $5.99/month plan will be discontinued, but ViacomCBS said existing subscribers will not be affected (unless they cancel and resubscribe after the new Paramount Plus plan is introduced).
The $4.99 Paramount Plus tier will have “way more content than CBS All Access had,” and it’s priced to maximize consumer appeal and ad revenue, Tom Ryan, CEO of ViacomCBS Streaming division, told analysts. By eliminating CBS locals from that package, ViacomCBS has more flexibility in how it structures distribution deals, he added.
In addition, the company plans to bundle Paramount Plus with other streaming packages; for example, subscribers will have a way to purchase a Showtime add-on with Paramount Plus.
What is Paramount Plus?
It’s the new name for CBS All Access, ViacomCBS’s existing subscription-video service, which will be rebranded as Paramount Plus on March 4, 2021, in the U.S. The new version includes a dramatically increased buffet of live sports, news and on-demand content — and a queue of new originals set to arrive in the coming months.
What’s available to watch?
Paramount Plus launches with a library of 30,000-plus TV episodes and more than 2,500 movies, and in the first year is set to premiere 36 original series. It also will present more than 1,000 live sporting events annually. The content comes from CBS (including CBS News and CBS Sports) and cable network brands Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central and Smithsonian Channel, with movies from Paramount Pictures, MGM and other studios.