Yellowstone is by far Primordial networkthe biggest success. It’s also one of cable’s biggest hits, period. Last year’s cliffhanger finale drew the largest audience of all scripted TV shows on cable in 2020, with 7.6 million viewers. The premiere of its fourth season in November nearly doubled, with 14.7 million viewers. And for all those who hope to catch up on the past seasons or watch the final as soon as it is released, the streaming service would appear to be the natural place to turn.
But counterintuitively, the show most associated with the name Paramount could not be found on.
If you want to stream the Yellowstone finale, you will have to try to unlock the Paramount Network app, not Paramount Plus. If you want to binge Yellowstonethe return catalog, you can upgrade to rival Paramount Plus , which has an exclusive agreement to be the only subscription streaming service with the first three seasons. And once the fourth season is over, that whole batch of Yellowstone episodes will eventually switch to a subscription streaming service – but again, that will be Peacock.
As confusing as it can be, it is by design. Yellowstone isn’t the only high-profile ViacomCBS track missing from Paramount Plus and streaming elsewhere: if you’re looking for Comedy Central’s South Park, for example, you need to check out. Content licensing is big business for ViacomCBS, as is the revenue generated from a successful show on a traditional cable network like Paramount Network. ViacomCBS has bet that some high-end shows can make more money – and reach more eyeballs – if they’re available elsewhere than Paramount Plus, even if that means a big Paramount show like Yellowstone isn’t on. Paramount Plus to everything.
Like the others in the parade of new streaming services – including, HBO Max, , Peacock and – Paramount Plus hopes its own peculiar TV and movie concoction hooks you into its own vision for the future of television. But Byzantine licensing agreements like Yellowstone’s point out that even when a new service like Paramount Plus is launched by rallying to its own content, it doesn’t necessarily make it easier for you to find and watch your favorite shows and movies online. line.
Or you can yellowstone creek
The main distinction to understand when it comes to how to broadcast Yellowstone is that Paramount Plus is different from Paramount Network, where Yellowstone will host its final on Sunday.
On Paramount Plus, you can’t stream Yellowstone – old or new episodes – at all.
Paramount Network is a traditional cable channel accessible to people who pay for it through an over-the-air TV provider. Paramount Network shows and movies, including the latest episodes from Yellowstone, are available to stream on the web at paramountnetwork.com or its Paramount Network app. But usually these are only available to stream for people who are already paying for the channel with an over-the-air TV subscription, like cable, satellite, or alike YouTube TV or .
One exception: Paramount has placed the first episode of the fourth season of Yellowstone outside of its paywall, so that anyone can stream this episode – titled Half the Money – for free on the Paramount Network app or website. If you want to watch other episodes from Season 4, you will need to sign up for a pay TV subscription. (, mentioned above, is one of the cheapest online options for accessing the Paramount network; it also offers a one-week free trial.)
So, if you want to stream the finale or any episode of Yellowstone Season 4, the only place to stream them at the start will be on the Paramount Network channel, website, or app. And the Yellowstone finale will only be available to stream to âauthenticatedâ online viewers – that is, people who can log in with their live TV service credentials to prove that they already pay for Paramount Network.
If you want to binge on Yellowstone’s previous seasons, the Paramount Network app and website have them too.
But if you’re a cable cutter or don’t have access to Paramount Network, you have to go to Peacock to stream the first three seasons. The fourth season will also air on Peacock. Peacock has yet to announce when he will begin airing Yellowstone’s fourth season, but you can expect it to be sometime after the season finale on Paramount Network – it’ll likely be months after the finale. .
So what did Paramount Plus actually relate to Yellowstone? Spin off. On December 19, Paramount Plus began airing a prequel titled 1883, which focuses on the Dutton family over a century ago as they moved west and established the Yellowstone Ranch. And on November 14, Paramount Plus premiered Mayor of Kingstown, a drama series co-created by Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan; While the mayor of Kingstown is not directly linked to Yellowstone, Paramount Plus presents it as a bit of a spiritual spinoff.
Why you can not stream Yellowstone on Paramount Plus
Each new streaming service launched from Hollywood makes its own mind about how much and what to keep to itself. Some streaming services have been aggressive in grabbing their titles on their own services.
Disney has been tough on allowing its agreements to expire for everything it had previously licensed to other services. This included a major deal that allowed Netflix to stream Disney theatrical movies for an estimated $ 200 million to $ 300 million per year over four years. But Disney Plus wanted to become a reliable hub for its own catalog, so Disney let the Netflix deal run out and stopped buying those blockbusters to compete with services.
NBCUniversal, in addition to licensing Yellowstone for its Peacock service, won the rights to its own comeback show The Office from Netflix in early 2021 so that Peacock could exclusively air the sitcom.
And WarnerMedia’s HBO Max has repeatedly reclaimed the rights to all eight Harry Potter films from NBCUniversal and Peacock. Warner Bros. from WarnerMedia has licensed all of these films to NBCUniversal years ago in an epic deal. This put NBCUniversal’s Peacock online to stream them rather than HBO Max. But WarnerMedia has grabbed them at times, in efforts to boost HBO Max with a popular franchise.
Paramount Plus, however, has been much more willing to license its top titles elsewhere.
Part of the reason is that the licensing of titles can be a lucrative business. So far this year, ViacomCBS has earned $ 4.6 billion from licensing, nearly a quarter of the company’s total revenue. That money comes from a range of licenses, from TV syndication to stuffed animals and Paw Patrol costumes. But part of that is also selling titles like Yellowstone, South Park and others to direct rivals of Paramount Plus. When you license your own programming to your own service exclusively, you are giving up heaps of money that you could have gotten back if you had licensed it to someone else.
And ViacomCBS has a big catalog to tap into: around 140,000 TV episodes and 4,000 movies. The company doesn’t want all of that on Paramount Plus.
“We can’t keep all of this to ourselves. It just doesn’t make sense,” CEO Bob Bakish said a year ago, as Paramount Plus prepared for the launch. “It’s too much.”
Bakish has repeatedly stated that the company’s strategy is “evolving” in terms of how much of its own programming it should allow and how much it should keep to itself. The company’s licensing strategy has “changed to become much more focused” on having its own franchises on its own streaming service, he said in November. But the “legacy contracts” the company entered into before Paramount Plus launched can have a long tail, he added.
However, beyond the money ViacomCBS earns from licensing, Paramount Plus also believes it might be able to attract more new members if it allows other larger services to have some of the benefits. its titles to be broadcast. Bakish noted that other platforms may expand an older show’s audience so that its reboots and spinoffs have a larger fan base for Paramount Plus.
It’s kind of a perverse logic. But Netflix has more than 213 million subscribers worldwide, while Paramount Plus has fewer – probably far fewer – than 47 million. ViacomCBS is betting that leasing Nickelodeon’s iCarly back catalog to Netflix may help spark a larger fandom, which in turn could be drawn to Paramount Plus for its exclusive reboot of the series. Interest in Avatar: The Last Airbender increased last year when the show hit Netflix, which certainly helped motivate ViacomCBS ‘decision to launch a– related programming.
But that strategy also means that for fans new to the Yellowstone prequel 1883 on Paramount Plus, as they watch the chronicles of the Dutton family’s arrival in Montana over a century ago, they’ll have to go elsewhere for find out who even the Dutton are. .