The new streaming services are somehow still coming in 2021. Paramount Plus is releasing in the US and Latin America on March 4, as a rebranding and relaunch of the existing CBS All Access service that will expand its library of content with more stuff.
With dedicated hubs to ViacomCBS’ various owned content arms – Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV and BET – it very much seems like another major studio’s renewed attempt to grab part of a market that’s been dominated by Netflix and its ilk.
This is part of a long-term plan to transform CBS All Access that actually kicked off in July 2020, when content from these different branded silos of shows and movies became available to stream. The investment here seems huge by comparison, though, with Paramount even vowing to put newly-released movies on the service shortly after their theatrical debuts – like the upcoming Mission: Impossible 7.
Below, we’ve rounded up everything we know about Paramount Plus so far, including a whole payload of originals that have just been confirmed for the streamer, like the Halo TV show, and the final price of the service.
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What is Paramount Plus?
Paramount Plus is both a new video streaming service made for a global audience, and a rebranding of the existing CBS All Access service. Outside the US, most countries don’t have CBS All Access, meaning ViacomCBS has little in the way of a streaming footprint. So, while the rebranding part is important for US customers, the global ambition is what matters here on a wider level.
The aim is to draw on a deeper well of content from the parent company’s portfolio, with a library of older shows and movies alongside a selection of originals. CBS All Access already features news and sports content, like UEFA matches – whatever you’re already enjoying on CBS All Access will form a key part of Paramount Plus, too.
Paramount Plus will feature more than 50 original series, with more than 30,000 episodes of TV shows and over 2,500 movies.
Internationally, the content will vary depending on current licensing deals. For example, Amazon has the rights to show Star Trek: Picard outside the US as it stands – so don’t expect to see an identical library globally.
Paramount Plus release date
Paramount Plus will launch in the US on March 4, 2021, along with parts of Latin America. The Nordics will receive the streaming service on March 25, while Paramount Plus lands in Australia at some point in mid-2021. On March 4, the CBS All Access service in Canada will also switch names to Paramount Plus, while “an expanded offering will be available later in the year” in that region.
Additional markets will follow, apparently. It’s unclear if the service will launch in the UK.
Paramount Plus price
The Paramount Plus price will be $9.99 per month without ads, or $5.99 with ads. In June 2021, however, the lower-priced ad-supported tier will get a $1 price drop to $4.99 per month. Both tiers will feature the same selection of on-demand originals, but the difference will be access to local CBS stations – that will be exclusive to the higher tier. You also get live CBS TV and more sports through the higher tier option.
Paramount Plus shows and originals
Like any major streaming service, Paramount Plus will feature a host of new originals, complementing the CBS All Access shows already available. We’ve picked out the highlights for you below, following the service’s full unveiling in late February 2021.
The Offer is a 10-episode limited series about the making of The Godfather; Lioness is a spy drama from Yellowstone and Sicario’s Taylor Sheridan; a new version of MTV’s Behind the Music is also in the works.
TV shows based on the movies The Italian Job, The Parallax View, Love Story and Flashdance are confirmed, too, while the TV series Criminal Minds is being revived for a 10-episode serialized ruun.
Oil drama Land Man is also coming, along with Michigan-based incarceration industry drama Mayor of Kingstown. A TV version of The Man Who Fell to Earth, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange, 12 Years a Slave) is being made, too.
Halo, launching in early 2022, and based on the games of the same name, feels like the closest the service has to a massive show in the making. Rugrats will also be revived as a CGI series with the original cast, while a revival of Frasier is in the works starring Kelsey Grammer (will he have a podcast now?). Comedy series Inside Amy Schumer will also be revived on the service. as will Reno 911!, while Beavis and Butt-Head will also return in a new original movie for the streamer.
Live-action versions of animated series Dora the Explorer and The Fairly OddParents are also coming to the service, while Nickelodeon series iCarly is also getting a revival. A new production house called Avatar Studios has been set up to produce new series, movies, spin-offs and short-form content based on the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe.
You’ll also find a true crime docuseries on Paramount Plus with the extremely tasteful name of The Real Criminal Minds. A reboot of BET sitcom The Game is also planned, along with a Spongebob Squarepants prequel spin-off called Kamp Koral.
A prequel series to popular cable show Yellowstone – which actually streams on Peacock right now – is also on the way. Y: 1883 was announced in February 2021, and focuses on the main show’s Dutton family during frontier times. Another Yellowstone spin-off with the working title 6666 is also in the works.
Paramount Plus will be home to all the upcoming Star Trek shows already confirmed for CBS All Access, including Star Trek Discovery season 4, Star Trek: Brave New Worlds, Section 31, Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek: Picard season 2. They now include CG series Star Trek Prodigy.
Indeed, any ongoing CBS All Access shows – like The Good Wife spin-off The Good Fight, or Why Women Kill – will have a home on this new service.
Sports on the service will include UEFA soccer, PGA golf, NFL, NCAA basketball, The Masters and National Women’s Soccer League. Expect a whole bunch of news-related programming, too.
Paramount Plus movies
Paramount Plus is going big on films – but the results might take a little while to temerge. In late spring 2021, Paramount Plus says it’ll stream a host of popular movies, including flicks from the James Bond and Hunger Games series, as well as The Addams Family and The Avengers, with the library growing to more than 2,500 movies.
Paramount Plus has also made a deal to be the streaming home of MGM’s new movies, like No Time To Die, House of Gucci and Creed 3, after they’ve made their pay TV debut.
Paramount’s own movies will obviously play a key part, here, and this is where things start to get really interesting. Upcoming movies A Quiet Place Part 2, Paw Patrol: The Movie and Mission: Impossible 7 will immediately debut on the streaming service 30-45 days after they release in theaters.
Other future movies, meanwhile, will arrive after their theatrical runs or pay TV runs, like Snake Eyes, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Top Gun: Maverick, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Transformers 7, Dungeons and Dragons and Scream, among others.
Existing Paramount movies like Dora the Explorer, Sonic the Hedgehog, Rocketman and Bumblebee are all coming to the service. The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run will be a streaming exclusive from launch.
Meanwhile, the service is making its own original movies – including new takes on Paranormal Activity and Pet Sematary, and a supernatural movie called The In Between.
Paramount Plus app: which devices will it work with?
Paramount Plus will be available on a wide variety of devices, including web browsers, iOS, Android, smart TVs, mobile, connected-TV devices, gaming consoles and through ‘leading OTT providers’. That’s as specific as they’ve got right now.
Will Paramount Plus stand out?
As ever, content is king with streaming services. For US customers, CBS All Access has already established itself with a number of solid originals, even if it’s far from the winner when it comes to volume. It’s harder to get excited about a new streaming service in 2021 than it used to be, honestly, but if it results in more great big-budget TV shows, it’s surely worth the effort.
The likes of Halo show that Paramount Plus means business – and the fast turnaround of movies like Mission: Impossible 7 on the service will help drive subscription growth. It feels like we might be waiting a little while to see the service reach its full potential, however, with many of these new originals seeming far off release.
On the March 4 launch, we’ll know if it’s worth it.