Paramount Plus: What to expect from CBS All Access’ revamp

February 25, 2021 0 By boss

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Paramount Plus‘ live event detailing its launch is happening now; this article will fully update after the presentation to include all the new information. In the meantime, we’ve learned:

The following is our original article about Paramount Plus. It hasn’t yet been updated to reflect the new details from the live event. 

Paramount Plus will be the revamped update of CBS All Access, taking on a new name, a new look and an expanded library of movies and shows on March 4. As parent company ViacomCBS rebrands its existing streaming service, Paramount Plus will include live news and sports content, as well as on-demand programming from channels like MTV, BET, Comedy Central, CBS and other ViacomCBS networks and brands, plus movies from the Paramount Pictures studio. 

And, like its rivals, Paramount Plus will have exclusive originals too, like the Star Trek series (such as Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard) that CBS All Access is already leaning on — plus a recently announced prequel to the Paramount Network hit Yellowstone

Because Paramount Plus is generally based on the existing CBS All Access service, we already have a rough idea of what it will be like. But ViacomCBS will fill in the rest of the blanks during an event on Wednesday, a week before the new service launches. 

That event should clarify how much Paramount Plus will cost, including whether ViacomCBS will change what it already charges for CBS All Access‘ tiers. And the event is sure to reveal a ton of new programming exclusives that ViacomCBS hopes will be enticing enough to draw in new subscribers, even as customers’ choices in streaming have exploded in the last year and a half. 

Yet again, Paramount Plus marks another video service to roll out, like Disney Plus, HBO Max, Apple TV Plus, Peacock, Discovery Plus and others that came before it. Like them, Paramount Plus hopes its particular recipe of TV shows, movies and originals will hook you on its vision for TV’s future. For you, these so-called streaming wars affect how many services you use — and, often, must pay for — to watch your favorite shows and movies online. 

When and where is Paramount Plus launching? 

Paramount Plus will launch in the US and Latin America on March 4. Canada’s CBS All Access will be rebranded Paramount Plus on March 4 too, but the company says its “expanded offering” won’t be available until later in the year.

Paramount Plus will widen to Europe starting with the Nordic countries on March 25 and then expand to Australia in mid-2021.

How much is Paramount Plus? 

ViacomCBS hasn’t confirmed Paramount Plus’ pricing, details it’s sure to clarify at its Wednesday event. 

It’s possible — but not certain — that Paramount Plus maintains the same costs as CBS All Access, which is $6 a month or $60 annually for its tier with advertising, or $10 a month or $100 annually to go ad-free. 

CBS All Access is offering a deal to get a year of the service at half price, a subscription that will carry over to Paramount Plus after March 4. The deal offers the ad-supported tier for $30 for a year or $50 for the ad-free version. The deal ends on March 3 at 3:59 p.m. PT / 6:59 p.m. ET — ending essentially the day before the launch. 

The pricing for Paramount Plus’ competitors runs the gamut. 

Among the services that have ad-supported options, Hulu is $6 a month with ads and $12 a month ad-free. Peacock has a free, limited tier with ads, but you can pay to unlock its full catalog. Those paid, premium Peacock memberships are $5 a month with advertising, or you can upgrade to an ad-free version for $10 a month.

Netflix, which has no ads, offers its cheapest tier at $9 a month, while its most popular plan is $14. Apple TV Plus is $5 a month, Disney Plus is $7 a month (going to $8 next month), and HBO Max is $15 a month. None of them includes advertising. 

What devices will support Paramount Plus? 

ViacomCBS is expected to confirm device support for Paramount Plus during its event Wednesday. 

But it’s fair to take some guidance from the devices that already support CBS All Access: 

  • Apple TV
  • iPhone and iPad
  • Android TV
  • Android phone and tablet
  • Chromecast
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Portal TV
  • PlayStation 4
  • Samsung TV
  • Vizio TV
  • LG TV
  • Roku
  • Xbox
  • Xfinity Flex

To see the exact models that support CBS All Access, check the service’s support page.

What product features will Paramount Plus have? 

ViacomCBS’ Wednesday event is expected to clarify Paramount Plus’ features. 

CBS All Access already has features like mobile downloads and separate profiles, including specialized profiles for kids. It’s a fair bet that Paramount Plus will include those features and new ones. 

Shows and movies: What will be available to watch on Paramount Plus?

The library on Paramount Plus will differ from the one currently available on CBS All Access — but the latter service’s current catalog does give you a general impression of what to expect, especially in terms of the original programming that will carry over to Paramount Plus. You can check third-party sites like Reelgood, which track streaming services’ catalogs, to get a sense of what’s available to watch on CBS All Access for now. 

Generally speaking, the service’s programming leans into ViacomCBS’ brands and its franchises, including CBS, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Smithsonian, as well as films from Paramount Pictures.

At launch, Paramount Plus will stream The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run. And the CBS All Access slate of originals will continue to stream there after the change to Paramount Plus. 

The service has already announced some new originals to come, including a spy drama called Lioness created by Taylor Sheridan, who also helped create Yellowstone. The service will create a prequel to Yellowstone that is due sometime this year, called Y:1883. Other new originals include The Offer, which goes behind the scenes of the making of the classic film The Godfather; The Real Criminal Minds, a true-crime docuseries; and reboots of MTV’s Behind the Music and BET’s The Game.

But the company’s event on Wednesday will explain the scope of Paramount Plus’ movies and shows more clearly.

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