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Paramount Plus Launches But Has Streaming Peaks to Climb

Sponge on the Run
Paramount offering 'The SpomgeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run' is part of Paramount Plus's lineup at launch. (Image credit: Paramount Plus)

After much fanfare, ViacomCBS has launched Paramount Plus, its direct-to-consumer streaming service.

Paramount Plus may be the last of the big Plusses the industry sees for a while. Most of the other media companies have already dived into the streaming stream and the competition to scale up to the levels of Netflix and Disney will be intense.

From a distribution standpoint, Paramount Plus got off to a solid start, with a presence on the big streamers, including Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Comcast has it also. Unlike Disney Plus, HBO Max and Discovery Plus, Paramount Plus did not have a mobile partner offering it free to ramp up its launch.

The initial version of Paramount Plus, a bulked-up, rebranded version of CBS All Access, costs $9.99 a month and is ad-free, except for the live feed of CBS. A more ad-supported version, costing $4.99, is expected in June. It will not have the live CBS feed.

Subscribers will be able to watch more than 30,000 episodes and a large number of films from ViacomCBS’s brands, as well as live news and sports.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run is available at launch along with Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years. Paramount Plus also has its own, updated versions of shows ranging from 60 Minutes to The Real World. 

With the Paramount name on the door, the service will also be offering films from Paramount including A Quiet Place Part 2 and Mission Impossible 7 just 45 days after their theatrical release.

ViacomCBS told analysts it expects to increase its number of global streaming subscribers to 65 million to 70 million by 2024 from the current 30 million. It also expects streaming revenue to grow to $7 billion annually.

“Competitive pressures for the top spots in consumers’ video-subscription preferences only keep becoming more intense, and the path to profitability or the ultimate margin profile for ViacomCBS’s services remain unclear to us,” RBC Capital markets analyst Kutgun Maral said.