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

Paramount+ plus streaming service

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

Key Points

  • Paramount Plus offers two subscription plans: Essential and with Showtime, with the latter being more expensive but offering more features.
  • Paramount+ Essential costs $5.99 a month or $59.99 a year, while Paramount+ with Showtime costs $11.99 a month or $119.99 a year.
  • Paramount+ with Showtime limits ads to certain shows and live programs, while Paramount+ Essential subjects you to mandatory ad breaks with everything you stream.
  • Paramount+ Essential provides access to the Paramount streaming library, while Paramount+ with Showtime includes Showtime content and live television stations.
  • Paramount+ with Showtime allows for offline downloads, while Paramount+ Essential does not support offline downloads.

Paramount+ is the streaming home for ViacomCBS. Like Peacock, Max, and Disney+, the streaming service offers subscribers a rich library of exclusive content from under the specific studio’s umbrella. Today, subscribers have two tiers to choose from: Paramount+ Essential and Paramount+ with Showtime. Whether you’re a casual viewer, a devoted fan of specific franchises, or someone who craves exclusive content, there’s a Paramount Plus subscription plan for you.  But which of these two Paramount Plus subscription plans is best? Let’s compare them to find out.

Paramount Plus Subscription Plans: Side-By-Side Comparison

AspectParamount+ EssentialParamount+ with Showtime
LaunchedMarch 4th, 2021June 27th, 2023
Price Per Month$5.99$11.99
Annual Price$59.99$119.99
Includes ShowtimeNoYes
Full Paramount+ LibraryYesYes
Ad BreaksYesLimited
Local CBS StationNoYes

Paramount Plus Subscription Plans: Key Differences

Paramout Plus logo on iPhone screen.
Paramount Plus joins the ranks of other studio-based streaming services like Disney+ and Max.

©Tada Images/Shutterstock.com

Despite their obvious differences in name, what really sets Paramount+ Essential and Paramount+ with Showtime apart? Let’s look at five key factors and how they differ from subscription plan to subscription plan. Price per subscription, number of ad breaks, library size, access to local stations, support for offline downloads… How do these Paramount Plus subscription plans stack up against one another where it matters most? Let’s examine each key difference in depth below.


Firstly, let’s consider the price of these Paramount Plus subscription plans. Paramount+ Essential costs $5.99 a month or $59.99 a year. Subscribers can save about $12 a year if they choose to pay annually instead of monthly for the Essential plan. Paramount+ with Showtime costs $11.99 a month by comparison. Its annual plan is $119.99 a year, which is a saving of about $24 annually over the monthly plan. This is a pretty major jump in price between the two, but Paramount+ with Showtime tries to make up for its doubled price with lots of bells and whistles.


Second, let’s look at how each of the Paramount Plus subscription plans handles ad breaks. Many streaming services have changed their tune about ads, going from ad-free to limited ads in order to save some money. Paramount+ Essential and Paramount+ with Showtime are no different. Neither one is totally ad-free, but Paramount+ with Showtime limits ads to certain shows and live programs only. Comparatively, Paramount+ Essential subjects you to mandatory ad breaks with everything you stream. It’s another plus for Paramount+ with Showtime.


Next, we should touch on the difference in the streaming library between these two Paramount Plus subscription plans. Paramount+ Essential is precisely that: only the essentials. You get access to all the movies and television shows in the Paramount streaming library, but none of the Showtime content or live television stations that the Paramount+ with Showtime tier has to offer. However, you still get live sports like soccer and football with your Essential plan. If you want Showtime, go with the more expensive tier. If you don’t care about Showtime, you can stick with the Essential plan.

Local Stations

Access to local stations is one of the most glaring differences between the two Paramount Plus subscription tiers. Paramount+ with Showtime gives subscribers access to their local CBS station streaming live. From local news to live award shows to sporting events as they air, this local access can prove both incredibly convenient and hugely entertaining. Paramount+ Essential doesn’t give you access to your local CBS station’s live stream. Nevertheless, you can still stream certain sporting events live with the Essential tier.


Lastly, how do the two Paramount Plus subscription plans handle downloads? This could make a huge difference in your choice of a plan if you’re someone who likes to save streaming content for offline viewing. As it stands, Paramount+ Essential doesn’t support offline downloads at all. Paramount+ with Showtime, by comparison, lets you download titles to your phone or tablet as you please. This goes for the Paramount+ library and the Showtime library alike. Consider how you feel about downloads before you take your pick.

Only Paramount+ with Showtime subscribers can download movies and TV for offline viewing.


Paramount Plus Subscription Plans: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • Paramount+ is the streaming home for a wide range of movies and TV shows from various networks. The service includes hits from CBS, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, and other networks underneath the Paramount umbrella.
  • In addition to the back catalog of hit movies and television shows, Paramount+ also provides exclusive original content. This ranges from new series and movies to reboots and revivals of classic properties like Star Trek, iCarly, and more. These originals can only be found on the Paramount+ platform.
  • Subscribers from both tiers can watch their favorite shows and films on demand. However, Paramount+ with Showtime includes premium cable content alongside the extensive Paramount library. 
  • Paramount+ with Showtime also offers offline viewing and downloads. This allows users to download content and watch it later without an Internet connection. The offline downloads feature is not supported on the cheaper Paramount+ Essential tier.
  • Regardless of the subscription plan, Paramount+ supports multiple simultaneous streams. A family of subscribers can watch from their smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and computers without interruption.

The History of Paramount Plus

Paramount+ is a streaming service that officially launched on March 4th, 2021. However, it has a history that dates back to 2014 under a different name: CBS All Access. While CBS All Access was successful enough in its own right, the streaming landscape underwent major changes throughout the back half of the 2010s. As such, media conglomerate ViacomCBS saw an opportunity to bring together a broader range of content under the Paramount name. With this simple change, Paramount+ was born.

The idea for Paramount+ emerged as a way to respond to the growing demand for streaming services branded after major Hollywood studios (Disney+ is another prominent example of this.) If ViacomCBS wanted to stay competitive in the ever-changing entertainment industry, then it would need to leverage its extensive content library like the competition was doing. So, the company took all the most popular shows and movies from its web of networks and called it Paramount+. They added Showtime content to the mix in 2023, further bolstering its streaming offerings.

By combining all this content from all these networks, Paramount Plus aimed to offer a diverse and compelling collection of entertainment options to its subscribers. In its current form, the service not only provides access to a vast library of classic and current TV shows and films, but also includes original content that is exclusive to the platform. This exclusive content further differentiates Paramount Plus from other streaming competitors and helps attract new subscribers. All in all, the rebranding of CBS All Access to Paramount Plus proved to be a significant move for ViacomCBS.

Paramount+ logo on TV.
Paramount Plus subscription plans recently changed to include access to Showtime.


Paramount Plus Subscription Plans: Pros and Cons

Pros of Paramount+ EssentialCons of Paramount+ Essential
More affordableRegular price increases
Access to live sportsRegular ad breaks
Full ViacomCBS libraryNo Showtime access
Live news by CBS NewsNo local CBS station livestream
Pros of Paramount+ with ShowtimeCons of Paramount+ with Showtime
Access to ViacomCBS and Showtime librariesMore expensive than Essential tier
Very few ads, if anySubject to price increases
Local CBS station streaming liveLive programming still has ads
Supports offline downloadsLibrary pales compared to other streamers

Which Paramount Plus Subscription Plan Is the Better Value?

Though there are two different Paramount Plus subscription plans to choose from, there’s no doubt that Paramount+ with Showtime is the superior offering. The Paramount+ Essential plan is more affordable at $5.99 per month, but it comes with regular ad breaks and does not include Showtime access. On the flip side, the Paramount+ with Showtime plan offers very few ads, has offline downloads, includes Showtime, and gives access to local CBS stations’ live streams. In the end, Paramount+ with Showtime has the much better value. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Paramount Plus?

Paramount+ is a streaming service that offers a wide range of movies and TV shows from networks like CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central. It also features exclusive original content.

How much is Paramount Plus?

There are two subscription plans: Paramount+ Essential costs $5.99 per month or $59.99 per year, and Paramount+ with Showtime costs $11.99 per month or $119.99 per year.

What kind of content is on Paramount Plus?

Subscribers get exclusive access to a vast library of classic and current TV shows and films. Paramount+ also provides original content unique to the platform, such as new series and movies based on ViacomCBS properties.

Does Paramount Plus support offline downloads?

Yes, Paramount+ with Showtime allows offline viewing. Subscribers can download content and watch it later without an Internet connection. However, this feature is not available for Paramount+ Essential subscribers.

Does Paramount Plus support simultaneous streams?

Paramount Plus supports multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and computers. Subscribers should be able to stream from multiple devices simultaneously without interruptions.

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