Paramount+ Adds 4K, Ads And New Prices: Is The UK Next?

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The digital streaming landscape is changing again, and Paramount+ is the latest platform to evolve its offerings in a bid to stay competitive.

With a recent announcement, Paramount+ has unveiled its new Premium and Advertising tier subscriptions, set to roll out in several international markets.

The Premium tier is slated for a mid-November launch in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico, while the ad-supported tier is earmarked for a 2024 debut in select markets (see full details below).

This move has naturally piqued the interest of the UK audience, stirring discussions on when, or if, these new tiers will make their voyage to British shores.

Amidst a broader industry trend, this development echoes the recent strategic shifts of streaming giants like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon’s Prime Video, as they navigate the waters of ad-based models and pricing adjustments.

Here’s everything we know at this point.

Paramount+ In The UK: The Road So Far

Since its foray into the UK market, Paramount+ has carved a niche with its blend of original programming, blockbuster films, and a vast library of iconic shows spanning across genres.

(Photo: Deposit Photos / Rafapress)

The platform hosts content from notable production studios and brands including CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, and SHOWTIME.

Among the treasure trove of content, series from the Taylor Sheridan Universe such as Special Ops: Lioness, Tulsa King, and Yellowstone have garnered a substantial viewer base.

Not to mention the Star Trek franchise, which continues to be a massive draw with the recent final season of Star Trek: Picard, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

Paramount+ UK costs £6.99/month – or £69.90/year (so £5.82/month) if you pay up for a full year in advance.

Notably, the price of a Paramount+ hasn’t changed since the service launched in the UK (15 months ago), so with the upcoming international changes, the question looms – are we headed towards pricing changes in the UK?

Adverts And 4K Coming To Paramount+ Internationally

The unveiling of the Premium and Ad-supported tier subscriptions by Paramount+ this week marks a significant stride in catering to diverse consumer preferences.

The Premium Plan, set to launch in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico on November 16, is tailored towards providing a higher-quality viewing experience.

The Premium plan will support 4K UHD, as well as HDR10, and Dolby Vision for HDR (though, as is often the case on streaming services, only some of the content will actually be in 4K).

4K TV comparison

Furthermore, the provision for four concurrent streams, as opposed to the two streams offered in the standard plan, is a deliberate move to entice family audiences, ensuring multiple members can indulge in their favourite content simultaneously.

The Premium Plan pricing as per the recent announcement is different for various regions: in Australia, it’s priced at $13.99 monthly and $124.99 annually.

In Brazil, it’s 34,90 BRL monthly and 309,90 BRL annually. In Canada it’s 13,99 $ CAD monthly and 124,99 CAD annually. And in Mexico it’s 179 MXN monthly and 1609 MXN annually.

If we were to extrapolate a potential pricing structure for the UK based on these figures and the current exchange rates, a rough estimate could place the monthly subscription at around £10 to £12, and the annual subscription somewhere between £110 to £130 for a Premium tier.

However, these are of course speculative figures.

The ad-supported tier, set to debut in select international markets in 2024 (starting with Australia and Canada), introduces an ad-supported model, aiming to strike a balance between subscription revenue and advertising earnings.

adverts commercials on tv

As we’ve seen in the past (with Netflix and Disney+, for example – see more on that below), streaming services that introduce changes in some countries, end up bringing those changes to the UK as well.

Marco Nobili, Executive Vice President and International General Manager for Paramount+, said: “After expanding our footprint to more than 45 markets last year, we are focused on scaling our business and providing customer choice.

“The introduction of the Premium and Ad-supported plans will give us the ability to better serve different consumer segments by providing multiple pricing options while also tapping into tremendous opportunities among our advertising and brand partners.”

In the US, Paramount+ already launched its ad-supported tier back in 2021, which however does not include 4K streaming, a feature reserved for premium subscribers (now known as Paramount+Showtime in the US).

Ad-Supported Tiers: A Growing Streaming Trend

The transition towards ad-supported tiers among streaming platforms is becoming more apparent as they strive for a balanced revenue model – and the UK is certainly part of that trend.

Netflix: In a significant move, Netflix recently phased out its basic tier in both the UK and the US, making its ad-supported tier the default “budget-friendly” choice at £4.99/month.

Netflix logo on phone shows background
Photo: Deposit Photos / Rafapress

Amazon officially announced last month that starting in 2024, Amazon’s Prime Video will introduce limited adverts for its UK audience – and those who want to watch without adverts, will have to pay an extra fee.

Lastly, a notable shift is also coming from Disney+, which is set to introduce an ad-supported tier in the UK starting November 1

A new ad-supported tier named “Standard With Ads” at £4.99/month will be introduced, providing a more budget-friendly option with periodic ads.

Disney Plus on phone with shows
Photo: Deposit Photos / Rafapress

Additionally, a “Standard Without Ads” tier at £7.99/month will be launched – which doesn’t support 4K. The existing subscription we all know and love at the moment, will transition to a “Premium” tier priced at £10.99/month

The adoption of ad-supported tiers by major streaming platforms like Disney+ and Netflix signifies a notable shift in the industry’s revenue model.

As streaming services continue to search for the ideal balance between subscription revenue and advertising, consumers stand to benefit from a broader range of viewing options. 

However – with so many paid streaming services popping up, and with prices going up – are customers willing to pay for a service – and then get it with adverts? 

Paramount+ seems to be the next streaming service that will test this idea in the UK – although we’ll have to wait and see whether these new tiers do indeed make their way to our side of the pond.

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