Paramount Plus Subscription Plans: Full Comparison and Which Is the Better Value

Paramount Plus, the streaming service from media giant ViacomCBS, offers subscribers two main plan options to choose from: Essential and Premium. Which you choose impacts not just price, but features, content selection and more. This guide will break down exactly how the Paramount Plus subscription plans differ to help you decide which is the better fit.

A Brief History: How Paramount Plus Evolved from CBS All Access

Paramount Plus has an origin story that traces back almost a decade. What began life in 2014 as CBS All Access – a streaming home primarily for CBS content – was rebranded as Paramount Plus in 2021.

Why the change to Paramount Plus after several years as CBS All Access? ViacomCBS made the shrewd move to better position itself against rival streamers from Disney, NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. Discovery.

By consolidating shows, movies and originals from across Viacom cable networks like Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon all under the Paramount banner, the service could more aptly compete for streaming subscribers‘ time and money.

The Paramount name also carried valuable brand cache thanks to the Paramount Pictures film library and Paramount Television production arm. So Paramount Plus was born, replacing CBS All Access as the new streaming home for ViacomCBS film and TV properties.

Paramount Plus Subscription Plan Pricing Breakdown

As a subscriber figuring out where to allocate your entertainment budget these days is no easy task. To put the Paramount Plus subscription costs in perspective:

Paramount Plus Essential

  • $5.99 per month
  • $59.99 per year (saves about $12 vs monthly payments)

Paramount Plus Premium

  • $11.99 per month
  • $119.99 per year (saves about $24 per year over monthly)

So while the ad-supported Essential plan runs just $6 monthly, upgrading to ad-light Premium means doubling your costs to nearly $12 monthly. Over the course of a year that tallies up to a difference of $60 vs $120.

Next let‘s unpack exactly what you get at each tier…

Plan Comparison: Content, Features and More

While both Paramount Plus options offer thousands of shows, movies and originals to choose from, there are some important differences in what‘s included:

Paramount Plus Essential

  • 10,000+ TV show episodes, movies, Paramount+ originals and live sports
  • Ads play before and during shows and films
  • No offline downloads

Paramount Plus Premium

  • All of the above PLUS:
  • Showtime original series and live feeds
  • Limited ads – only plays ads on select content
  • Lets you download shows/movies to watch offline
  • Streams your live local CBS affiliate station

So Premium subscribers gain access to Showtime, the on-air live feeds of their CBS station, and – perhaps most crucially – can download shows and films to devices to watch without wifi or data. However, you‘ll pay an extra $6 each month for those bonuses.

Pros and Cons of Paramount Plus Subscription Plans

Paramount Plus EssentialProsCons
$5.99 per month or $59.99 per yearMost affordable planRegular ad breaks
Full Paramount+ TV/film libraryLive sports includedNo Showtime access or local CBS live station
10,000+ hours of entertainmentCan stream on multiple devices simultaneouslyNo downloading shows offline
Most affordable planRegular ad breaks
Live sports includedNo Showtime access or local CBS live station
Can stream on multiple devices simultaneouslyNo downloading shows offline
Paramount Plus PremiumProsCons
$11.99 per month or $119.99 per yearMinimal ad interruptionsMore expensive than Essential
Everything in Essential PLUS full Showtime library and live feedsDownloads for offline viewingPrice may increase over time
Stream your local live CBS stationStreams on mobile devicesLive programming still contains some ads
Access to premium Showtime originalsSmaller content library vs Netflix/Hulu/Prime
Minimal ad interruptionsMore expensive than Essential
Downloads for offline viewingPrice may increase over time
Streams on mobile devicesLive programming still contains some ads
Access to premium Showtime originalsSmaller content library vs Netflix/Hulu/Prime

Which Plan Offers the Best Value For Your Money?

When weighing the Paramount Plus subscription plans against one another, while Essential seems attractively cheap it‘s Premium that carries more enduring value with the inclusion of Showtime, Live CBS and offline viewing perks.

Paying an additional $6 each month grants you an ad-light experience plus plenty of hot Showtime series you won‘t find anywhere else, like Billions and Yellowjackets. Being able to download titles for trips away from wifi is another underrated feature for those on-the-go.

All combined, Paramount Plus Premium edges out Essential as providing the most bang for your buck – even if the lower $5.99 fee sure looks nice upfront.

One aspect prospective subscribers should note is while Paramount Plus may not boast as vast a library as Netflix or Hulu, you gain exclusive access to fan favorite franchises here like Star Trek, South Park, The Good Fight and many more.

Upcoming revivals of Comedy Central classics Inside Amy Schumer and Beavis and Butt-Head will also stream on Paramount Plus, unavailable elsewhere. So if you‘ve been yearning for new episodes of these legacy series, signing up for Paramount Plus – Premium in particular – is the only route to watch legally.

What is Paramount Plus?

Paramount Plus is a streaming service featuring hit shows, movies, sports and originals from media company ViacomCBS. It offers a massive collection of TV and films from brands like CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and more.

How much does Paramount Plus cost?

Paramount Plus Essential plan:
$5.99 per month or $59.99 per year

Paramount Plus Premium plan:
$11.99 per month or $119.99 per year

What can I watch on Paramount Plus?

Subscribers can instantly stream 10,000+ episodes of current and classic TV shows plus blockbuster movies, exclusive original programming, live sports and news coverage. Popular titles include Star Trek Discovery, The Good Fight, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Paw Patrol, South Park, Scream movies, 1883, Mayor of Kingstown and much more.

Can I download shows to watch offline on Paramount Plus?

Yes, but only with a Premium plan ($11.99 monthly). The lower priced Essential plan does not support offline downloads.

How many devices can stream Paramount Plus simultaneously?

You can stream on a wide variety of supported devices concurrently. This includes smart TVs, media players (Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV), game consoles, iOS/Android mobile devices and more. Up to 6 simultaneous streams permitted.

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