ViacomCBS is launching Paramount+ in less than a month. Will this new streaming service sizzle? Or will it fizzle the same way as its predecessor, CBS All Access?
The Paramount+ streaming service launch reminds me of a troubling paradox. When you’re wrong, you’re supposed to own up to it; but, when you’re right, you’re shouldn’t say “I told you so.” So, along those lines, all I can say is that ViacomCBS plans to launch Paramount+ on Thursday, March 4, 2021. It’s obvious that the folks at Paramount+ are all jazzed up about the new launch. You can practically feel the excitement while watching this trailer:
My Relationship with Paramount+?
It’s complicated. In a September 19, 2020 blog post, I warned that Paramount+ seemed “a rebranded CBS All Access.” And CBS All Access, as far as I was concerned, is a “sub-par streaming service at best.” Four months later, I’m not sure I’ve changed my mind about it. If my research is any indication, this new streaming service probably won’t offer enough to justify the added costs.
In (a slight) defense of Paramount+, it might be a BIT more than a re-branded CBS All Access. First thing is first: the iconic eyeball logo of CBS has been replaced with the Paramount mountain. That’s just a cosmetic change, though. What’s more important is the content viewers will get with their Paramount+ subscription. That includes programming and curated content from these popular national channels:
- Comedy Central
- Live sports
- Local TV
- On-demand originals
- Paramount Pictures
- Original Series on Paramount Plus
You know what else a Paramount+ subscription gets you? The answer is some original content. Here are the titles we’ve heard about:
- The Offer
- MTV’s Behind the Music – The Top 40
- The Real Criminal Minds
- The Game
For the record, I still don’t know how much Paramount+ will cost. If I had to guess, and that’s what I’m doing here, I’d say the subscription rate will likely be about $5.99 per month for two simultaneous streams, or $9.99/month for Paramount+ with no commercials. Just don’t take my word for it this week. Paramount+ could prove me wrong on launch day.
Taking a Pass on Paramount+
I know from experience that CBS All Access wasn’t all that. Well, not my experience but the experience of my colleague, Stuart “I’ll pay for anything with Vulcan ears” Sweet. He begrudgingly endorsed CBS’s streaming service because he was the only way he could watch Star Trek Discovery. Once he started subscribing, he was largely disappointed with his experience. I could have said “I told you so” and in fact, I think I did. (My bad!)
The only way I’ll know whether Paramount+ lives up to the hype is if Stuart Sweet gets it. (And that’s a big “if” at this point.) As far as I’m concerned, ViacomCBS is stacking its service with content that’s now unavailable to satellite TV subscribers. I consider this another kick in the pants to pay-TV subscribers that have supported CBS and Viacom for decades while those companies gave the minimum effort in return. No thanks!