Paramount+ has finally launched in the UK. To celebrate this new arrival, we are going to give readers a quick rundown of what Paramount+ is. As well as what it offers and what its presence means for the industry.
What Is Paramount+?
Paramount+ is actually a relaunch/rebranding of CBS All Access which launched in 2014. After CBS remerged with Viacom in 2019 and began including more of Viacom’s (now Paramount Global) content on All Access it was eventually decided to relaunch the service under the Paramount brand. Paramount+ launched across America in March 2021 and expanded to various territories before reaching the UK on June 22nd 2022.
What Paramount+ Offers?
The new service contains films and TV shows produced by many Paramount Global-owned brands. Including Paramount, the Showtime network, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon/Nick Jr., the Smithsonian Channel, and MTV.
It includes classic movies and shows like Star Trek, Frasier, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Oz, Scream 1-3, and the Mission: Impossible series along with their own original and exclusive content. Which so far includes Halo (based on the game series), Beavis and Butt-Head Do The Universe, 1883 (Yellowstone’s prequel), Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and The Offer (which depicts the making of The Godfather).
And the service has announced plans to produce original media in the UK, Spain, Mexico, Germany, France, Italy and more. With the aim of commissioning 150 international projects by 2025.
The Promise Of Paramount+
According to recent figures, Paramount+ has around 40 million subscribers. And its UK availability now means there are huge expansion opportunities for the service. Currently, it’s cheaper than many of its contemporaries. Their originals are also doing well at drawing in viewers. And their commitment to commissioning original international programming, rather than focusing solely on English-speaking territories, could herald a unique path forward for future production company-owned services. As well as offering more opportunities for smaller productions worldwide.
Each Paramount+ brand also has many existing projects that can be added later to appease new subscribers. This would be welcome as the current content slate is lacking. Some film franchise entries are missing e.g. Friday the 13th Parts 1 and 3, the first Transformers and Paranormal Activity, the last two Kelvin Star Trek films etc. Other key franchises are missing altogether (e.g. the Godfather and Indiana Jones). And there isn’t much balance and variety in terms of modern and classic shows and films on offer. Something that needs rectifying.
But there is also a big problem this service represents. The continued proliferation of production company-owned streaming services is harmful to viewers overall. As it will lead to customers having to purchase more services to watch a variety of media. Whereas once you could watch Twin Peaks, Disney movies, and a range of independent and international films through something like Now TV, many films and shows have now been pulled to effectively be held hostage behind their distributors/producers’ paywall. These production company-owned streaming services, therefore, lack diverse ways to keep viewers interested.
And this results in these services lacking longevity. One key reason for Netflix’s success is its variety. It works with filmmakers across the world to make and promote new stories. It also includes a number of great modern blockbusters and awards contenders. And it contains classic films and TV from production companies all over the world. It offers something for everyone.
Paramount Global owns many beloved properties. And their investment in independent and international productions is good. But its restriction to streaming Paramount Global-owned or distributed projects will always be limiting. For itself and its customers.
Also Read: The New Hollywood: Streaming Giants
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