HBO Max just debuted a more affordable pricing tier with ads, and now Paramount+ is following suit with a new Essential plan that starts at just $5 per month.
The launch of the Paramount+ low-cost tier comes alongside a new slate of content for summer, with the first batch of 1,000 new films slated to arrive on June 10. New films coming to Paramount+ this week include older blockbusters like Skyfall, Mission Impossible: Ghost Recon, Terminator: Dark Fate, and more, with Paramount+ also set to be the exclusive home for the debut of Infinite, a new sci-fi action film starting Mark Wahlberg and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Later in the summer, Paramount is expected to stream the new PAW Patrol movie the same day it’s released in theaters (Aug. 20), and will also get the streaming rights for A Quiet Place Part II following the end of its theatrical run. All told, Paramount+ says it’s hoping to have than 2,500 feature films available for streaming by the end of the summer.
The service’s new $5 Essential plan is cheaper than the premium tier, which is $10 a month, and will be replacing the $6/month Limited Commercial plan (which is going away but will be continue to be available for any existing subscribers).
Aside from their cost and use of ads, the big differences between the entry-level and premium tiers is that while the Essential plan does come with support for 4K and HDR, you don’t get the ability to download titles for offline viewing or access to live content from your local CBS affiliate, the latter of which is something that will remain available on the outgoing Limited Commercial plan.
On the bright side, Essential subscribers will get access to a slice of live sports, including NFL on CBS and UEFA Champions League matches. But if you want access to PGA golf or NCAA basketball, you’ll still need to upgrade to the more expensive tier.
Given the increased pressure Paramount+ is facing due to new plans from its competitors and the impending merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery, the addition of a revamped and slightly cheaper ad-supported tier makes a lot of sense. However, given that Paramount+ was somewhat late to the streaming world and there rumors of possibly even more streaming mergers coming in the not-too-distant future, it’s hard to say if this will give Paramount+ and ViacomCBS the boost it needs to keep up with Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, and others in the long term.