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Paramount Plus vs Netflix: Price, content and features compared
How does a recent player stack up against an industry giant?
One of the more recent entries into the Australian streaming market, Paramount Plus has certainly made a splash. It offers a whole lot of content, delivers live sport and has a particularly competitive price point. But can Paramount Plus hold its own vs industry giant Netflix? Let's discuss.
Netflix vs Paramount Plus: Snapshot
|Launch date||24 March 2015||11 August 2021|
|Price||$6.99–$22.99 a month||$9.99 a month|
|Library titles||2,623 TV shows, 4,561 movies||545 TV shows, 681 movies|
|Top titles||Stranger Things, Bridgerton, Red Notice, The Witcher, Squid Game, The Crown||South Park, The Secrets She Keeps, Geordie Shore, 1883, A-League|
|4K||Premium plan only||No|
Netflix vs Paramount Plus: Price, screens and video quality
Straight off the bat, Netflix has the cheapest entry point for price. For $6.99 you can get Netflix's Standard with Ads plan. But as the title implies, you will have to sit through ads as part of your viewing experience.
When looking at an ad-free viewing experience, Paramount Plus is the clear winner as far as price is concerned. At $9.99 a month, it's not only cheaper than Netflix Basic but cheaper than most of the streaming services available in Australia. Considering that the price buys you TV shows, movies, some reality TV, kids' content and sport, it's a great deal. Netflix's Basic plan is also no longer available to new or rejoining subscribers, so there's an even bigger gap between starting prices for no ads between the 2 services.
Paramount Plus offers only 1 plan in Australia with no ads. You can stream on 2 devices at the same time in HD. The service comes with a 7-day free trial so you can give it a go and see if it works for you.
Meanwhile, after Netflix's Standard with Ads plan, the Standard plan, which lets you watch in HD on 2 devices simultaneously, is $16.99 a month. Finally, Netflix Premium costs $22.99 a month for 4K video quality and 4 concurrent streams.
There's no free trial for Netflix.
How do Netflix and Paramount Plus content libraries compare?
Netflix has a very large library with everything from movies to TV shows to reality to docos to kids' programming. Honestly, there are not enough years in a human life to stream everything on Netflix.
The platform invests heavily in original productions so it won't have to lose stuff from its library whenever a competitor decides to join the streaming wars, which happens often. Top titles include Stranger Things, Bridgerton, Squid Game, The Witcher, You and BoJack Horseman. That's only covering TV.
The downside is that the quality of this content varies significantly. Netflix works hard to cover all tastes, which is a plus since the whole family can tune in. But it also means that depending on what you're into, you won't want to watch everything.
Kids have their own dedicated section with titles for all ages, from preschool to tweenhood. Parents can choose from romantic comedies, action thrillers, Oscars contenders and horror flicks. On the TV front, there are sitcoms and anthologies and dramas. Although Netflix has lost a lot of licensed content in recent years as other streaming services bulk up their own libraries, it increases its efforts on original titles to make up for that.
If you're into live sport, that's where Netflix doesn't deliver. Live sport is a big selling point for Paramount Plus, becoming the go-to destination for domestic football. The platform livestreams A-League Men and A-League Women games, the FA Cup, as well as some matches outside of the World Cup by Australia's national teams the Socceroos and Matildas. Paramount Plus also offers a live stream of CBSN if you're not the kind of person who gets their news by doomscrolling X (formerly Twitter). Netflix is only just dipping its toes into live sport with The Netflix Cup on 14 November 2023, which will see stars from 2 of its series - Formula 1: Drive to Survive and Full Swing - face off in a golf tournament.
As for TV shows, there are a lot of crime procedurals you can watch to unwind. Blue Bloods, NCIS, The Good Wife, CSI, Hawaii Five-O – they're all there. As Paramount Plus and Network 10 are owned by the same company, you can watch some Channel 10 shows on the streaming service too, without having to view ads. You can stream Survivor Australia (and the original US version of Survivor), Hunted and later seasons of MasterChef and The Bachelor.
Aside from the Channel 10 shows, Paramount Plus is stepping up the production of Australian shows. While Netflix does have some homegrown content like movie The Stranger and a reboot of Heartbreak High, Paramount Plus is really churning out Australian shows. Some recent ones include Undressed with Kathryn Eisman, Sky Blue: Inside Sydney FC, 6 Festivals and The Bridge Australia.
Paramount Plus is also becoming the exclusive home of Showtime content. That means you'll find such premium drama titles as the original Dexter and revival Dexter: New Blood, survival thriller Yellowjackets and other popular series such as Ray Donovan, Penny Dreadful and Californication.
Besides Showtime, Paramount Plus is offering content from Comedy Central, MTV, Smithsonian, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. The latter means plenty of kids' stuff – think Spongebob Squarepants, PAW Patrol, Rugrats and so on.
Bottom line: the Paramount Plus library is more modest than Netflix's, but there's plenty there to catch your eye. If you love crime procedurals like Blue Bloods, Netflix doesn't really have a lot of those, so you'll get your fill if you climb the Paramount Plus mountain of entertainment. The same applies for live football.
Netflix vs Paramount Plus: Devices, streaming experience and features
Both Netflix and Paramount Plus are available on many devices. Check the table below for details.
|Smart TV (selected models)||✓||✓|
|Amazon Fire TV Stick||✓||✖|
As for the streaming experience, both platforms support offline viewing and come with a user-friendly interface, the ability to create profiles, solid parental controls and accessibility features.
However, Paramount Plus is getting the short stick on streaming experience, especially when compared to Netflix.
Netflix works on any device under the sun, from smartphones and streaming devices to gaming consoles and smart TVs. Paramount Plus is available on many of the same devices, but not on game consoles or smart TVs beyond Samsung. However, you can get Paramount Plus through Prime Video Channels and watch via the Prime Video app, which offers solid device compatibility. But then you'd be paying for a Prime Video subscription and a Paramount Plus subscription.
On the same note, Netflix comes with a lot of features meant to make streaming as seamless and accessible as possible. The Skip intro button. Audio descriptions. You can even watch a show or movie at double speed if you want the creators to stone you to death if they ever find out. It has interactive movies and games.
Another feature is while Netflix offers suggestions of what to watch after you're finishing watching a title, Paramount Plus will autoplay a new suggestion. But usually the lead time is enough that you can get out of the suggestion before it plays.
Paramount Plus only offers a basic streaming experience, which may annoy seasoned users, but the service functions fine and the live streams work perfectly, which at the end of the day, that's what really matters.
So, should I get Netflix or Paramount Plus?
You were probably expecting a more eloquent conclusion, but it ultimately comes down to what you like to watch. If you want a massive amount of choice when it comes to content and devices and care about stuff like the Skip Intro button, get Netflix. If you don't mind a more basic streaming experience, love crime procedurals and more Aussie content, get Paramount Plus.
But you can take advantage of the Paramount Plus 7-day free trial and give the service a spin and know the answer for yourself.
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