It’s Official: Paramount+ is Ending Its $5.99 Tier & Moving to Ad-Supported $4.99 Option Next Month
Starting in June, Paramount+ fans will be able to save a buck on their monthly subscription, according to ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish.
During his company’s Q1 2021 earnings call, Bakish confirmed Paramount+’s pivot to a $4.99, ad-supported tier that will replace the $5.99 AVOD tier that was brought over from CBS All Access. This shift was originally confirmed during the company's Investor Day earlier this year.
The main difference between the two? Outside of saving a dollar, you’ll also lose access to your local CBS affiliate — something the CBS All Access version of the lower tier offered. There will also be changes to the amount of live sports you’ll have access to, but it’s currently unknown what that will entail. Bakish said in February that ad-supported subscribers will have access to NFL and Champions League games, but plans could have changed in the meantime — for better or worse.
If you’re interested in the $5.99 plan, you can still sign up for it and use it in lieu of the $4.99 plan. As it currently stands, you’ll be grandfathered into the service and can keep your $5.99 plan going forward. However, that could change, so tread carefully.
ViacomCBS had a solid quarter, with the company announcing it now has 36 million global streaming subscribers including Paramount+ and Showtime as of Q1 2021, up 6 million on the quarter. They didn’t disclose USA-based subscribers, though, which totalled 19.2 million as of the end of 2020. Bakish said sign-ups were particularly strong throughout March, the same month as the Paramount+ rebrand, due to sports events such as Super Bowl LV, the men’s NCAA March Madness Tournament, UEFA Champions League, and more. ViacomCBS also reported a nice boost in popularity for its free ad-supported TV platform, PlutoTV, as its monthly active viewer base hit nearly 50 million in Q1.
Could this new, lower-priced option fuel Paramount+ towards a brighter future? Or is it doomed to wallow in mediocrity? If the latter, it’s probably because they refuse to just give their US-based subscribers Showtime with Paramount+.