ViacomCBS just released their new streaming service, Paramount Plus. As the latest service to enter the streaming wars, Paramount+ will combine CBS All Access with shows from CBS, MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and VH1. Additionally, the newcomer will provide live TV and original programing. But, can they survive the already crowded marketplace?
Unlike streaming giants Netflix and Hulu, Paramount+ won’t license many great films to appear on their platform. Instead they will dig deep into their own bag and feature many films from Paramount Pictures. Most notably, the newest “Mission: Impossible” and “A Quiet Place” sequels will be available to stream on their platform … 45 days after they hit theaters. Anyone willing to subscribe to Paramount+ purely for upcoming films isn’t going to avoid spoilers for 6 weeks just to stream from home.
This is a huge flaw in Paramount Plus’ plan. They want to avoid the HBO Max strategy of release films in theaters and on streaming simultaneously. Yet, by doing so they are going to lose money in both arenas. No one is going to wait 45 days to watch an anticipated film, thus they’ll lose streaming money. And people are still hesitant to see the film in theaters so they’ll lose box office revenue as well.
Paramount+’s marriage to ViacomCBS is similar to Peacock’s partnership with NBCUniversal. Where Paramount+ will fail is their lack of a free streaming option. Peacock has a deep catalog of great movies that are available to stream for free. You can watch “Schindler’s List,” “Lost in Translation,” and “The Town,” without spending a dime. Additionally, fan favorite TV shows like “The Office,” and “Parks and Recreation,” have their first two seasons available for free.
Paramount+ offers two options. A $9.99/month commercial free plan or a $5.99/month ad supported plan. The streaming service is jumping right into the deep end and roughly following Hulu’s current pricing. However, Hulu used to be free. The streaming service worked their way up to charging people for their services after getting their foot in the door. Additionally, Hulu has a deeper, more diverse catalog of films and TV shows to pick from. They feature shows from almost every cable and OTA network, and were the first to steam Oscar frontrunner, “Nomadland.”
Paramount+ isn’t only asking consumers to add on an additional streaming service. They are asking consumers to voluntarily pay for a much worse streaming service. Can Paramount+ survive the streaming wars? Not likely.