Thursday , February 25 2021

Paramount Plus: What is it and when is it coming?

Paramount Plus will replace CBS All Access in March. Here’s everything we know so far.

Kevin Costner stars in Yellowstone. 

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 MTV, BET, Comedy Central, CBS and other ViacomCBS channels 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 that CBS All Access is already leaning on and a recently announced prequel to the Paramount Network hit Yellowstone

Since 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 Feb. 24, one week before the new service launches. 

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That event should confirm whether the company will change Paramount Plus’ pricing from the fees it already charges for CBS All Access. And it’s sure to reveal new programming that ViacomCBS hopes will be enticing enough to draw in new subscribers, even as customers’ choices in streaming services 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 pay for — to watch your favorite shows and movies online. 

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.

ViacomCBS hasn’t confirmed Paramount Plus’ pricing, details it’s sure to clarify at its Feb. 24 event. It’s possible — but not certain — that Paramount Plus maintains the same pricing as CBS All Access, which runs $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 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.

By comparison, 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. 

ViacomCBS is expected to confirm device support for Paramount Plus during its event on Feb. 24. But it’s fair to presume that devices that already support CBS All Access will also work with Paramount Plus. 

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

ViacomCBS’ Feb. 24 event revealing the details of Paramount Plus is expected to clarify the app’s features. 

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 Feb. 24 will explain the scope of Paramount Plus’ movies and shows more clearly.

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This Article was first published on cnet.com

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