Bloody hell, Australia is getting another Netflix competitor
Australia is getting another streaming service called Paramount Plus – here's everything you need to know, including pricing, release date and must-watch shows.
In the unlikely event you don't have enough stuff to watch, Paramount Pictures is entering the streaming market with a new subscription service dubbed Paramount Plus.
The product will offer a wide range of movies and TV shows from the Paramount archives, along with content from its owner ViacomCBS. (This includes Australia's Network 10, which was purchased by CBS in 2017.)
There will also be original programming which is how most streaming services are judged these days.
So how much will Paramount Plus cost, what kind of shows will be available and when can you get it? Here's everything we know so far.
When is Paramount Plus coming to Australia?
Paramount Plus will release in Australia on 11 August, 2021. That's a little under four months from now. Here's the official launch trailer for Australia:
How much is Paramount Plus in Australia?
Paramount Plus will cost $8.99 per month in Australia. Unlike rival streaming services like Netflix and Stan, there are no different pricing tiers at launch. This is fast becoming the preferred business model, as demonstrated by Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus.
Interestingly, the US version of Paramount Plus is set to launch an ad-supported version that costs US$5 per month. There's no word on whether a similar offering will be made available in Australia.
How much content will Paramount Plus have?
In a word, lots. In addition to Paramount Pictures' entire back catalogue of movies, the service will also provide content from Showtime, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Sony Pictures Television, Network 10 and others.
In all, there will be more than 20,000 films and TV episodes appearing on the service throughout 2021. Some noteworthy shows and movies include The First Lady, Dexter, The Twilight Zone, The Godfather, Mission: Impossible, The Dark Night Trilogy and Peter Jackson's The Lord Of The Rings movies. You can find out more about the available content in our Paramount Plus streaming guide.
You can also check out the full list of shows on 10 All Access, which will be moving over to Paramount Plus (more on that below).
What about original content?
According to CBS, Paramount Plus will boast an "expansive library" of original series. However, it's not clear whether this means original programming created specifically for the service, or content from CBS subsidiaries like CBS and Showtime.
For what it's worth, the company is promising new originals based on Nickelodeon's most beloved characters including SpongeBob Squarepants.
Does it have any killer must-watch shows?
Every streaming service needs at least one or two tent-pole series to keep subscribers coming back for more. Foxtel has Game of Thrones, Netflix has Stranger Things, Disney Plus has The Mandalorian and Amazon Prime Video will soon have The Lord of the Rings. So what is Paramount Plus bringing to the table?
Paramount Plus' main claim to fame is early access to its own movies. According to a Dark Horizons report, select Paramount films that were originally intended for a theatrical release will instead debut directly on Paramount Plus. This includes the sci-fi epic Infinite starring Mark Wahlberg.
In addition, films by Paramount will reportedly appear on the streaming service 45 days after they open in theatres. This will give Paramount Plus an interesting edge over the competition, particularly for movie buffs who prefer to watch "proper" theatrically released movies.
In Australia, Paramount Plus will "exclusively" stream season two of Five Bedrooms, although the show will also be appearing on Channel 10 at a later date. Aussies will also be getting the feature film 6 Festivals, a coming-of-age drama about three 16-year-old best friends.
Will it have 4K content?
At launch, it does not appear as if Paramount Plus will offer any 4K content. (In the US, the service launched in HD only.) We've reached out to Paramount in Australia and will update this story when we hear back.
Update: In response to questions about 4K content, Paramount supplied Finder with the following statement: "Stay tuned for updates on what's coming to Paramount+ in coming months." Hmm. That could mean anything, but at least it's not a definitive no.
What happens to 10 All Access?
If you're a 10 All Access customer, you're probably wondering how this affects your subscription. CBS has confirmed that 10 All Access will be rebranded to Paramount+. Presumably, this should result in a $1 reduction in your $9.99 subscription fee. In other words, you'll soon be getting heaps more content for less money – nice!
Will this affect other streaming services?
CBS will almost certainly start pulling the content it owns from its rivals in the months ahead. We recently saw this with Foxtel and Stan, which lost a bunch of content to Disney Plus. However, it will need to wait for existing licensing agreements to expire, which could be up to 12 months from now. But rest assured, some movies and TV shows will eventually disappear from other subscription services.
Is Paramount Plus worth the money?
The answer to this question depends on two things: how interested you are in Paramount Pictures' filmography and the number of streaming services you already subscribe to. For our money, Paramount Plus looks extremely tempting. At $8.99, it's cheaper than Stan or Netflix and comes with a hell of a lot of content for the asking price.
There's also the prospect of getting access to new movies a few weeks after they appear in the cinema. The Network Ten tie-in also means it should have more Australian content than its US-based competitors like Netflix and Disney Plus.