Why Yellowstone, Paramount’s No. 1 Hit Present, Is not on Paramount Plus

Yellowstone is the most important present on the Paramount Community — and on cable tv, interval. Its fifth-season premiere in November drew the most important viewers of any TV present thus far this yr

Paramount Plus would appear the pure place to show to for anybody hoping to stream season 5 and the present’s previous seasons. However, counterintuitively, the one present most related to the Paramount title is nowhere to be discovered on Paramount Plus

If you wish to watch the brand new season, the Paramount Community app or web site shall be your solely streaming possibility for months. If you wish to compensate for the earlier season (season 4), you possibly can watch it with rival streaming service Peacock or, once more, by way of Paramount Community. And if you wish to binge Yellowstone’s first three seasons, you may have to pay for Peacock, which has an unique deal to be the one subscription service streaming Yellowstone.

However you will not discover any Yellowstone on Paramount Plus, besides spinoffs. 

As complicated as that’s, it was considerably by design. Having successful present on a conventional cable channel like Paramount Community is a giant enterprise, and so is the income generated by licensing exhibits to different providers. Paramount positioned a guess some time in the past — earlier than it was clear simply how large Yellowstone would get — that some top-shelf applications could possibly be extra worthwhile in the event that they’re obtainable someplace apart from Paramount Plus. On this case, that meant Paramount’s largest present is not on Paramount Plus in any respect. (On reflection, that will have been an particularly unhealthy guess.)

Paramount Plus hopes its personal specific concoction of TV and flicks will hook you by itself imaginative and prescient for TV’s future, like rivals Disney Plus, HBO Max, Apple TV Plus, Peacock and Discovery Plus are attempting to do too. However byzantine licensing offers like Yellowstone’s underscore that even when a service like Paramount Plus rallies round its personal content material, that does not essentially make it easier so that you can discover and watch your favourite exhibits and flicks on-line. 

The place to stream Yellowstone season 5 on-line

When you’re making an attempt to seek out Yellowstone to stream, the principle distinction to know is that Paramount Plus is totally different from Paramount Community. Whereas Paramount Plus is a subscription streaming service, Paramount Community is a conventional cable channel obtainable to individuals who pay for it by way of a live-TV supplier. Paramount Community is the place Yellowstone’s new season runs first. 

The second distinction to know is that Peacock is the one subscription streaming service with Yellowstone episodes. On Paramount Plus, you possibly can’t stream Yellowstone — previous episodes or new ones — in any respect. 

Paramount Community for season 5 (and to compensate for season 4)

If you wish to watch any new, fifth-season episodes of Yellowstone, you may want to show to Paramount Community’s channel, its web site at or its Paramount Community app. The fourth season of Yellowstone is offered by way of Paramount Community’s app too, however it does not have seasons 1 by way of 3. 

Essential notice about timing: Yellowstone is televised on the Paramount Community on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT and seven p.m. CT, however streaming availability does not begin on the location and app till the day after. Which means Sunday’s exhibits turn into obtainable to stream Monday — you possibly can’t stream them the identical night time they’re on tv. 

Fortunately, Paramount Community is making the primary episode of the brand new season easy to stream: It’s obtainable to stream outdoors the paywall on the community’s web site and the Paramount Community app, so anyone within the US can watch it at or in app. Even for those who’re not paying for a conventional TV service with Paramount Community, you possibly can nonetheless watch the primary episode of the season. You possibly can’t, nevertheless, watch the second episode of the season, which was additionally televised Sunday, with out getting previous the paywall.

To stream the second episode or another new episodes to come back, you may must be an “authenticated” viewer — that’s, any individual who can log in with live-TV service’s credentials to show you are already paying for Paramount Community. Most frequently, which means having cable, satellite tv for pc or a live-channel streaming service like YouTube TV or Philo. (Philo is likely one of the most cost-effective on-line choices to get entry to Paramount Community; it additionally affords a weeklong free trial.) 

Peacock for seasons 1 by way of 4

The primary 4 seasons of Yellowstone can be found to stream on Peacock, a streaming service run by NBCUniversal. Each episode of Yellowstone is paywalled: You should be on one in every of its paid subscription tiers that sometimes price both $5 a month with advertisements or $10 a month ad-free. (Some individuals who have Comcast, Cox or Spectrum can get a deal on Peacock’s premium tiers.) 

Paramount Plus for … spinoffs

So if Paramount Plus does not have Yellowstone, what does it have? To compensate for not having Yellowstone itself, Paramount Plus has been firing up a ton of spinoffs, prequels and spiritually related programming by its creator, Taylor Sheridan, which can be unique to its service. 

The primary was a Yellowstone prequel titled 1883, which focuses on the Dutton household greater than a century earlier as they set up the Yellowstone Ranch. One other prequel collection, 1923, will function tales about members of the Dutton household who’re kids throughout the occasions of 1883; it’s set to star Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren and is meant to reach in December. And Paramount has ordered an entire steady of exhibits both associated to Yellowstone or produced by Sheridan. 

Why Yellowstone is not streaming the one place you’d count on

Each new streaming service launching out of Hollywood makes its personal judgment about how a lot programming to maintain for itself. Yellowstone’s absence from Paramount Plus is a complicated quirk stemming from a licensing deal the corporate struck with NBCUniversal’s Peacock in 2020, greater than a yr earlier than Paramount Plus launched. 

As Yellowstone has soared in reputation the final two years, Paramount’s choice to license it out (to what’s now a direct streaming competitor) has emerged as a strategic black eye. And for followers, it has created a irritating maze to determine the place to stream Yellowstone and associated programming.

Some streaming providers have been aggressive in getting their titles again to their very own providers. 

Disney has been agency in letting its offers expire for something it beforehand licensed out to different providers. That included a serious deal that permit Netflix stream Disney’s theatrical motion pictures for an estimated $200 million to $300 million a yr over 4 years. However Disney Plus wished to turn into a dependable hub for its personal catalog, so Disney let that Netflix deal run out and stopped procuring these blockbusters to rival providers.

NBCUniversal, along with licensing Yellowstone for its Peacock service, received the rights to its personal present The Workplace again from Netflix at the start of 2021 so Peacock might stream the sitcom completely. 

And WarnerMedia’s HBO Max has repeatedly clawed again rights to all eight Harry Potter motion pictures from NBCUniversal and Peacock. WarnerMedia’s Warner Bros. licensed all these motion pictures to NBCUniversal years in the past in an epic deal. That put NBCUniversal’s Peacock in line to stream them slightly than HBO Max. However WarnerMedia has snagged them again repeatedly, in an effort to spice up HBO Max with a well-liked franchise. 

Paramount Plus, nevertheless, has been extra prepared to license its prime titles elsewhere. 

A part of the reason being that licensing is usually a profitable enterprise. Final yr, Paramount made $6.5 billion in income from licensing, practically 1 / 4 of the corporate’s whole and billions greater than the corporate generated from streaming. That cash comes from an array of licenses, from TV syndication to Paw Patrol stuffed animals and costumes. However a part of licensing can also be farming out titles like Yellowstone and others to Paramount Plus’ direct rivals. Once you grant your individual programming to your individual service completely, you forsake cash you could possibly’ve hauled in for those who’d licensed it to another person. 

And Paramount has a giant again catalog to faucet into: roughly 140,000 TV episodes and 4,000 movies. The corporate has mentioned it does not need all that on Paramount Plus. “We won’t preserve all that for ourself. It does not make sense,” CEO Bob Bakish mentioned as Paramount Plus was making ready for launch. “It is an excessive amount of.”

Bakish has repeatedly indicated the corporate’s technique is “evolving” when it comes to how a lot of its personal programming it ought to license and the way a lot it ought to preserve for itself. The corporate’s licensing technique has “shifted to turn into far more targeted” on having its personal franchises by itself streaming service, he mentioned final yr. However the “legacy offers” the corporate struck earlier than the launch of Paramount Plus can have an extended tail, he added. And in February, Bakish mentioned it was “unlucky” to strike a Yellowstone licensing take care of Peacock within the midst of closing a serious merger.

Nonetheless, past the cash Paramount makes by licensing, Paramount Plus additionally believed it would have the ability to draw in additional new members if it let different, larger providers have a few of its titles to stream. Bakish has famous that different platforms can develop the viewers for an older present in order that its reboots and spinoffs have a much bigger fan base for Paramount Plus. 

It is a perverse kind of logic. However Netflix has greater than 22 million members worldwide, versus Paramount Plus’ 46 million. Curiosity in Avatar: The Final Airbender surged in 2020 when the present hit Netflix, actually serving to inspire Paramount’s 2021 choice to launch a complete new studio devoted to recent Avatar-related programming. 

Sadly, Paramount is not gaining a lot attain for Yellowstone by having it on Peacock. Peacock is even smaller than Paramount Plus: Solely about 15 million subscribers are on Peacock’s paid tiers that unlock Yellowstone, lower than a 3rd the dimensions of Paramount Plus’ membership base. 

Most just lately, Paramount has began reuniting a few of its main franchises with its personal streaming service. South Park is slowly untangling from HBO Max to make its solution to Paramount Plus, the corporate mentioned in February. In 2024, new South Park episodes may have their streaming premieres on Paramount Plus slightly than on HBO Max. Then in 2025, Paramount Plus will get the total back-catalog of South Park within the US. 

However thus far, Paramount has been silent about clawing again the rights to Yellowstone. 

That implies that for brand new followers of any of the Yellowstone prequels on Paramount Plus, as they watch the chronicles of the early Dutton household, Paramount Plus subscribers have to go elsewhere to dive into who the modern-day Duttons even are. 

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