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Paramount Plus Mission Accomplished? Launches as a Standalone App on Roku

Paramount Plus app on Roku
(Image credit: Future)

ViacomCBS seems to have lived up to its promise that new streaming service Paramount Plus would have "near universal" distribution on launch day.

A preliminary road test shows the Paramount Plus app quickly surfacing as a new standalone app on the biggest connected TV platform, Roku. It was lack of app support for the leading OTT platform, as well as the second biggest, Amazon Fire TV, that vexed NBCUniversal's Peacock and WarnerMedia's HBO Max when they launch last year. 

Paramount Plus is also available in the app stores today of the two major mobile operating systems, Apple's iOS and Google's Android. 

Also Read: Paramount Plus Launches on Most Distribution Platforms Including Roku, Amazon

Notably, within the Apple TV app, Paramount Plus still shows up as an "Apple TV Channel," just as ViacomCBS' legacy app CBS All Access was, with billing handled through the user's Apple ID account. Subscribers access Paramount Plus through the Apple TV app, not directly.

While launching their rival streaming apps, other media companies, notably Disney and WarnerMedia, had to stridently push back on having their apps disaggregated through the respective "channels" services of platform giants like Apple, Amazon and Roku, preferring to control the customer relationship and all the data that comes with that. 

Last month, Apple ended a promotion that offered CBS All Access subscribers a significant discount when they bundled in ViacomCBS' Showtime app. It appeared at the time as though Apple was getting ready to not have the Paramount Plus app featured in its Apple TV Channels market alongside Showtime. 

We didn't road test Paramount Plus on Amazon Fire TV, the second most proliferate connected TV device platform. But Amazon released a statement today noting, "Starting today, the Paramount+ app is available both on Fire TV and Prime Video Channels for customers in the U.S., Canada and Brazil. Paramount+ is also available to customers in Mexico via Prime Video Channels."

On Thursday morning, we also tried to sample Paramount Plus on Chromecast with Google TV, Google's new device that overlays new search and recommendation features on top of Android TV. We found the Paramount Plus app, but it took us to CBS All Access--it appeared that a systems update was still in process.

ViacomCBS said the app is also supported by LG, Samsung and  Vizio smart TVs; Xbox One, Xbox  Series X, PlayStation 4 consoles; and Comcast Xfinity X1 pay TV.  

ViacomCBS is offering three pricing options for Paramount Plus: a $5.99 iteration with limited commercials; a $9.99 version with no adds; and a package that lets users pay $99 for a full year for the premium no-ad version, saving 15% the monthly price.

ViacomCBS is offering a promotion that lets users road test its new streaming service for free for one month.