Paramount Plus has entered the streaming wars in the US – it’s the rebranding of CBS All Access, carrying across all the content from that service, but adding a bunch more originals. This is the new home of series like Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard, but they’ll eventually be joined by many more headline-grabbing originals.
In the future, Paramount Plus will be the home of big-budget originals the Halo TV series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and a Frasier reboot – alongside a growing library of movies, like Mission: Impossible 7 and A Quiet Place Part 2. Essentially, this is ViacomCBS’ effort to expand into an all-conquering Netflix rival – but will it work?
At launch, Paramount Plus is basically the home of CBS All Access’ existing content (which is a solid amount of movies and TV shows) and several originals: MTV’s The Real World Homecoming, animated series Tooning Out the News, SpongeBob prequel Kamp Koral, the long-awaited The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run and docuseries For Heaven’s Sake.
The Paramount Plus app also features dedicated hubs to ViacomCBS’ various owned content arms – Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, BET and The Smithsonian Channel.
In the future, the service is only set to grow – but should you care right now? Below, we’ll tell you everything we know about Paramount Plus, including whether it has a free trial, which shows are coming to the service and which devices are compatible with the service’s app.
Paramount Plus launch time: when is the release date?
It’s here! Paramount Plus launched 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 free trial: is there one?
Yes. Paramount Plus has a 30-day free trial, which you can get here – this is available until March 31, according to the website. That should be more than enough time to catch up on the Star Trek series you might’ve missed out on…
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 eventually 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, at least at first.
What does Paramount Plus cost?
The Paramount Plus price is $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 and library content, but the difference is access to local CBS stations – that’s exclusive to the higher tier. You also get live CBS TV and more sports through the higher tier option. The image above breaks it all down.
Paramount Plus apps: which devices are compatible?
Paramount Plus is available on the following supported devices, according to this help page:
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. At launch, the original shows include docuseries For Heaven’s Sake, Tooning Out the News from Stephen Colbert, a reboot of MTV’s The Real World Homecoming and SpongeBob prequel series Kamp Koral.
Existing CBS All Access originals like Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Lower Decks, The Good Fight and Why Women Kill will now be Paramount Plus originals for future seasons. You can also find The Twilight Zone reboot on the service, which has ended after two seasons.
In addition, CBS shows can be found on the service after they air. At launch, these include Clarice, The Equalizer and Young Sheldon.
So, what’s coming up in the future? That’s the most exciting part of the service – a lot of new originals are planned.
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 run.
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 in the works, too.
Halo, launching in early 2022, and based on the popular games of the same name, feels like the closest the service has to a massive The Mandalorian-type show in the making – outside of the Star Trek series, anyway. 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 is returning in a new original movie.
Live-action versions of animated series Dora the Explorer and The Fairly OddParents are also coming to the service, while Nickelodeon series iCarly is 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.
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 going to be made.
Star Trek: Brave New Worlds and CG series Star Trek: Prodigy will join the other series on the platform.
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 emerge. That said, the existing CBS All Access library of movies has a few highlights that are worth checking out at launch, like the Star Trek movies and Indiana Jones films.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run is also a streaming exclusive from launch.
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 paid 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 films like Dora the Explorer, Sonic the Hedgehog, Rocketman and Bumblebee are all coming to the service.
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.
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.
Still, now it’s out in the wild, we’ll see what kind of impact it makes with customers.