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Paramount+ rolls out ad-supported tier priced at $4.99 per month

Paramount+, which has been on the market for three months, is finally rolling out its $4.99 ad-supported tier in an effort to attract more consumers to the streaming service. To make it even more appetizing to would-be subscribers, the streamer plans to add more than 2,500 titles to its ad-free and ad-supported tiers this summer.


Top line
Paramount+’s ad-supported tier rollout marks the platform’s official entrance into the streaming advertising space after debuting its main and ad-free offering—which costs $9.99 per month—on March 4. The new ad-supported tier, called the Essential Plan, excludes some content, including day-and-date film releases, live local CBS station access and some live sports content, but comes with almost all of the on-demand content available on Paramount+’s $9.99 tier, along with breaking news via CBSN and access to certain NFL games and soccer matchups.

Meanwhile, both tiers of the service will get an injection of new films throughout the summer, including action films like Skyfall, dramas like The Wolf of Wall Street, kids films like Sonic the Hedgehog, comedies like School of Rock and new releases like A Quiet Place Part II, which will arrive 45 days after its May 2021 theatrical release. One thousand of those movie will arrive on June 10.

“The breadth and depth of premium feature films and exclusive series coming to the service further strengthens our position in the market as a premium entertainment destination and, by offering this compelling content portfolio at an all-new low cost, makes us even more accessible to a wide consumer audience,” Tom Ryan, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Streaming, said in a statement.

Between the lines
ViacomCBS execs are hoping the ad-supported tier and the new content coming into the service over the summer will help attract new subscribers to Paramount+, allowing them to build scale and help drive early results for the increasingly crucial streaming portion of the business. The company most recently reported that it had 36 million combined streaming subscribers, which includes subscribers to Paramount+ along with the premium cable and OTT brand Showtime and some niche streaming services like Noggin. (That figure was up 63% year over year at the time.)

The rollout also marks the official end of the service’s previously offered limited commercial plan, which costs $5.99 a month, when Paramount+ was known as CBS All Access. That $5.99 tier, which unlike the Essential Plan comes with local live CBS station access, will no longer be available for new users, but existing subscribers can maintain access to that content at the price they signed up for.

ViacomCBS did not comment on the $4.99 offering’s ad load and how it compares to the previous $5.99 offering—or rivals streamers like HBO Max With Ads (which has no more than four minutes of ads per hour) and Peacock (which has no more than five minutes of ads per hour).

Bottom line
The new Paramount+ offering is the second ad-supported streaming tier to debut in the past week, as the country continues to open up and consumers evaluate their slate of subscription video services. Just a week ago, HBO Max rolled out HBO Max With Ads, aimed at attracting consumers with tighter budgets and winning back consumers who churned out of the more expensive ad-free tier. Adweek

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