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Paramount Plus Gets March 4 Launch Date, but Questions Remain

Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard in 'Star Trek: Picard'
Paramount Plus will include originals available on CBS All Access, such as ‘Star Trek: Picard.’ (Image credit: Trae Patton/CBS)

ViacomCBS confirmed a March 4 launch date for the new Paramount Plus subscription service, but key distribution options remained a question. 

It was still unclear at press time whether or not ViacomCBS will have support for the Paramount Plus (Paramount+) app on the two biggest device ecosystems, Roku and Amazon Fire TV, from day one. 

ViacomCBS said it will release key details about the service, a major expansion of the five-year-old CBS All Access platform, at a Feb. 24 Q4 earnings event. 

CBS All Access has been aggressively sold through the “channels” on both Roku and Amazon. ViacomCBS said in November that it had 17.9 million customers combined across its subscription OTT channels, a grouping led by CBS All Access and the Showtime streaming service.

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WarnerMedia suffered a major hangup in its quest to establish HBO Max as a standalone app on Roku and Fire TV without those channels as an outlet. HBO Max launched in late May, but didn't establish support for the No. 2 OTT device ecosystem, Amazon Fire TV, until November. It didn't launch on the No. 1 platform, Roku, until December. Both Roku and Fire TV tout more than 50 million active users. 

The Walt Disney Co. also had difficult negotiations with Amazon in its attempt to make Disney Plus a standalone app on the Fire TV platform, rather than have the service’s content disaggregated and resold through Amazon Prime Video Channels.

NBCUniversal launched its Peacock streaming service in July but did not gain Roku distribution until September and still is not available via Amazon
Fire TV.

Discovery, in contrast, launched the Discovery Plus SVOD service in January with support on all major platforms.

ViacomCBS reached a deal with Apple in the fall that allowed CBS All Access and Showtime to be resold through Apple TV Channels. 

Paramount Plus will also debut in Latin America on March 4, when Canada will see CBS All Access rebranded and expanded as Paramount Plus. The service will launch in the Nordics on March 25 and in Australia in mid-2021.