Paramount+ offers two main plans for subscribers to choose from – Essential and Paramount+ with Showtime (previously Premium). While both tiers provide access to Paramount+ originals, and a similar experience in general, there’s also enough differences to make choosing between the two Paramount+ plans easier.
For example, not only do they differ in terms of the monthly price, but also in the use of ads, and even the live and on-demand content included with a subscription.
Paramount+ price difference
The first and probably main difference to take into consideration is the price. The Paramount+ Essential plan costs $5.99 a month, while the Paramount+ with Showtime plan costs $11.99 a month. Regardless of the plan chosen, both come with a 7-day free trial making it possible to test either tier before paying.
For those willing to sign up on a long-term basis, an additional 16% saving is available with an annual plan. If opting for the yearly subscription, the Essential plan costs $59.99, while the Paramount+ with Showtime plan costs $119.99. Basically, annual subscribers get two months free each year.
Essential vs Paramount+ with Showtime comparison
If simply looking to save the most on the monthly cost, then the Essential plan is going to be the best option. However, there are compromises with the cheaper plan that should be taken into consideration before signing up.
Paramount+ ads difference
Skipping the ads is likely to be one of the main reasons to consider paying for a more expensive subscription tier. While the Paramount+ with Showtime tier does remove the ads, it is important to note that the premium plan doesn’t offer a completely ad-free experience.
There are two main reasons for this and the first is pretty straightforward. As the Paramount+ with Showtime plan includes access to live channels, including a subscriber’s local CBS station, premium subscribers will still see ads when watching anything live.
The second reason is that Paramount+ with Showtime subscribers are subjected to what Paramount+ refers to as “brief promotional interruptions.” The service doesn’t explain why it serves these interruptions to ad-free customers, but does state that they are specifically designed to advertise “new and upcoming Paramount+ programming.”
In short, while an ad-free subscriber shouldn’t see ads for third-party products and services, they are likely to still see commercials for Paramount+.
Paramount+ CBS difference
Both the Essential and Paramount+ with Showtime tiers include access to CBS content. However, access to the live CBS channel is only available to those subscribed to the Paramount+ with Showtime plan. Although both Paramount+ tires come with access to a number of live channels, the ability to watch the live CBS channel is one of the main differences between the two plans.
Paramount+ provides all Paramount+ with Showtime subscribers with access to their local live CBS station. Instead of access to the live national version of CBS, the exact station a Paramount+ with Showtime subscriber gets access to will depend on their location.
In spite of the premium plan unlocking access to live CBS, some homes may find they don’t need access to the more expensive subscription. For example, NFL on CBS and UEFA Champions League games, which are typically shown on the live CBS channel, are available to watch with the Essential plan. These live sports events are shown on separate live feeds.
Paramount+ Showtime difference
Those signed up to the Paramount+ with Showtime plan get access to the Showtime library on top of the Paramount+ library, unlocking access to even more on-demand content. This is another major difference to the Paramount+ Essential plan, which only unlocks access to the Paramount+ library. With Showtime now integrated in Paramount+, there’s no need for an additional Showtime subscription anymore. Basically, Showtime is now included for free with a Paramount+ with Showtime subscription.
Similar to CBS, premium Paramount+ subscribers also get access to the linear Showtime channels. Since the sunsetting of the standalone Showtime service, these linear Showtime channels have been rebranded as Paramount+ with Showtime East and Paramount+ with Showtime West. Both channels are included at no additional cost and can be accessed directly within the Live TV section of the Paramount+ app.
Choosing the right Paramount+ plan
In the past, choosing between the basic and premium Paramount+ plans mostly came down to whether the subscriber wanted to watch with or without ads. However, as the service has evolved over time, the difference between the two subscription tiers has become a lot more apparent.
From the user perspective, this makes choosing between the plans much easier than ever before. However, it also means choosing the right Paramount+ tier is also more important than ever before.
For those that want to keep the cost as low as possible, and don’t need access to their local live CBS channel or additional Showtime content, there is no need to pay more than the $5.99 each month for the Essential plan. This cheaper tier does include commercials, but even Paramount+ with Showtime subscribers are occasionally served ads.
For those that want the best experience Paramount+ has to offer, including an ad-free streaming experience, access to a local CBS station, and the Showtime library, the $11.99/month Paramount+ with Showtime plan is going to be the better option.
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