Don’t expect me to gush about the Paramount Plus streaming service. What if it’s just a rebranded CBS All Access?
Streamers, be on the lookout for Paramount Plus sometime in early 2021. In addition to its new name, the streaming service promises expanded programming from the archives of Viacom and CBS. There’s even a plan to expand this streaming service overseas. Yes, these are some ambitious plans. But will it be enough to save an entity that was a sub-par streaming service at best? We’ll see, but first…
…Let’s Discuss CBS All Access
That was the eyeball network’s first attempt at a streaming service, and I was skeptical from the start. In September 2017, I said “CBS All Access is the very definition of paying a lot for a little.” Here are my reasons why I made that claim and still stand by it:
The streaming service only offers series and movies that CBS owns.
You have to wait at least a day to stream CBS primetime shows.
Some users have reported a one-week playback delay on certain programming.
Most viewers can get CBS via their cable or satellite TV service.
You can get CBS for free with a TV antenna.
Some users have reported system crashes during commercial breaks.
A new Star Trek series doesn’t make the investment worthwhile.
Regarding my last point, that’s easy for me to say because I’m not a Star Trek fan. That’s a fair point, which is why I quote our resident Trekkie, Stuart Sweet. As a subscriber to CBS All Access, he had this to say:
“I’ll hate myself for [subscribing], but I’ll do it. I could probably find [the exclusive Star Trek content] on some video sharing site and there’s a decent chance they’ll end up on YouTube at some point, but I won’t wait. I’ll probably finish this article and go watch. This doesn’t make me feel very good about myself, but it makes me feel far worse about CBS.”
You can read all of Stuart’s rant. The point I’m making is that at least one Star Trek fanatic was largely unimpressed with CBS All Access. A short trip through various online discussion boards would produce hundreds of other disgruntled Trekkies. With all that out of the way…
…We Can Focus on Paramount Plus
Well, as much as we know about it, anyway. Perhaps the most noticeable change will be the streaming service’s logo. Gone is the iconic eyeball that viewers have associated with CBS for decades. It’s going to be replaced with the Paramount mountain, which is also a well-known and recognized brand. Here’s a look at some of the content you can expect to find on Paramount Plus:
- Comedy Central
- Live sports
- Local TV
- On-demand originals
- Paramount Pictures
Original Series on Paramount Plus
That’s right. The new streaming service is featuring some original series. It pretty much has to for Paramount Plus to survive in today’s streaming market. While people enjoy curated content from the past, they really tune in for their favorite series. Maybe some of these will strike your fancy:
The Offer: This 10-episode series details producer Al Ruddy’s experiences making The Godfather. It partners writer/producer Michael Tolkin (Escape at Dannemora and The Player) with Ruddy and Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys).
Lioness: This spy drama is based on a real-life CIA program. The story follows a Marine who’s recruited to befriend the daughter of a terrorist so he can bring down the organization from within. It’s created and produced by Taylor Sheridan (Yellowstone), Jill Wagner, David Glasser, David Hutkin, and Bob Yari.
MTV’s Behind the Music – The Top 40: This reboot unlocks MTV’s vault from the past 40 years. The series is produced by Creature Films and MTV Studios.
The Real Criminal Minds: This is a true crime documentary series that’s based on the hit CBS Television series. It’s produced by XG Productions in association with CBS Television Studios and ABC Signature.
The Game: This is a revival of the popular BET show.
Okay, Maybe I Was a Bit Harsh at First
Paramount Plus doesn’t seem to be just a “rebranded CBS All Access.” It seems that this future streaming service will offer much more programming than its predecessor. With that, I’m not going to withdraw my skepticism. We don’t know how much this service is going to cost, but it’s a safe bet that it will be more than $5.99 per month for two simultaneous streams or $9.99/month for no commercials. The value of Paramount Plus will be determined the same way all streaming service subscriptions are judged, which is whether the content justifies the price.