Despite the fact that Yellowstone isn’t on Paramount Plus as many people believe, the most recent season of the show has finally begun streaming on Peacock.
Yellowstone is, by far, the most popular show on the Paramount Network. Aside from that, it’s one of the most popular shows on cable television, bar none. It was the most watched scripted television show on cable during the year 2020, with 7.6 million viewers tuning in to watch the season 3 cliffhanger finale of The Americans. The season 4 premiere on the Paramount Network in November drew 14.7 million viewers, nearly doubling the previous season’s total.
And it would appear that the Paramount Plus streaming service would be the most logical choice for anyone looking to watch the show online. However, in a surprising turn of events, the one show that is most closely associated with the Paramount name is absent from Paramount Plus.
If you’re looking to watch Yellowstone’s most recent season — season 4 — on a streaming service, you can now do so on Peacock, a competitor service, as of Monday. To watch Yellowstone’s back catalogue, you can either subscribe to Peacock, which has an exclusive deal as the only subscription streaming service that carries Yellowstone, or try to unlock the Paramount Network app — but not the Paramount Plus app — which is available for free on iOS and Android devices.
And, in a surprising turn of events, the first three seasons of the show were made available for free streaming on Pluto TV over the weekend. However, they were essentially the same as an old-school television marathon, with no ability to pause, rewind, skip, or otherwise select which episode you wanted to watch.
As perplexing as that may appear, it is partially by design. In addition to Yellowstone, a number of other high-profile Paramount titles are absent from the Paramount Plus streaming service: Those looking for Comedy Central’s South Park, for example, should look no further than HBO Max for their entertainment.
In addition to content licencing, Paramount makes a lot of money by airing popular shows on traditional cable networks like Paramount Network, which generates a lot of revenue for the company. A bet was placed by Paramount that some top-tier programmes would be more valuable — and thus reach more viewers — if they were made available somewhere other than Paramount Plus. This is true even if it means that a major Paramount show like Yellowstone is not made available on Paramount Plus in any way. (In retrospect, it appears to have been a monumentally bad decision.)
Paramount Plus, like the rest of the new streaming services on the market — including Disney Plus, HBO Max, Apple TV Plus, Peacock, and Discovery Plus — hopes that its own unique concoction of television shows and movies will entice you to subscribe to its own vision for the future of television. However, complicated licencing agreements such as Yellowstone’s serve as a reminder that even when a service like Paramount Plus rallies around its own content, it does not necessarily make it easier for you to find and watch your favourite shows and movies online.
Yellowstone’ Season 4 Is Finally Streaming Online
The most important distinction to understand is that Paramount Plus is not the same as Paramount Network. While Paramount Plus is a subscription streaming service, Paramount Network is a traditional cable channel that can be accessed by people who subscribe to it through a live-TV provider such as Comcast or Dish. Yellowstone’s fourth season (as well as all of its seasons) premiered on Paramount Network, which also distributed the show’s first three seasons.
The second distinction to be aware of is that Peacock is the only subscription streaming service that offers Yellowstone, and this is true across the board.
Yellowstone is not available for streaming on Paramount Plus at any time, whether it is an old episode or a new one.
Peacock has added the fourth season of Yellowstone to its library, joining the first three seasons that were available there since Peacock launched in 2020. The fourth season of Yellowstone will be available starting on Monday. Every episode of Yellowstone, with the exception of the season one premiere, is accessible only through a paywall. To watch any episode on Peacock other than the very first one, you must be a member of one of the company’s paid subscription tiers, which typically cost $5 or $10 per month, depending on your location.
If you want to watch any of the episodes from the most recent season, the first place you should look is on the Paramount Network channel, website, or mobile application. It is only available to “authenticated” online viewers — that is, people who can log in with their live-TV service’s credentials to prove that they are already paying for Paramount Network — that the fourth season of Yellowstone will be streamed.
One exception: Paramount Network removed the paywall from the first episode of Yellowstone’s fourth season, which means that anyone can watch the episode, titled Half the Money, for free on the Paramount Network app or website, regardless of their subscription status.
The shows and movies on Paramount Network, including every episode of Yellowstone, are available to stream on the web at paramountnetwork.com or through the Paramount Network app. You must, however, already be paying for the channel through a live-TV subscription, such as cable, satellite, or a live-channel streaming service such as YouTube TV or Philo, in order to be considered a “authenticated” viewer. For example, Philo is one of the most affordable online options for getting access to Paramount Network, and it also offers a free weeklong trial period.
There are several types of streaming services available, but Pluto TV is unique. No registration is required and it is completely free for anyone to watch with advertising on the sidelines. Moreover, while Pluto TV has a library of shows and movies that can be watched on demand, the service’s core feature is pseudo-live “channels” that broadcast programming in an unstoppable stream, much like if you turned on traditional television and began switching between different networks.
Last weekend, Pluto TV essentially broadcast a Yellowstone marathon, airing episodes from the show’s first three seasons. Yellowstone’s first season, as well as its second and third seasons, were broadcast on Pluto’s More TV Drama channel on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. In contrast, if you were watching it on Pluto, you had no control over what was happening on screen: you couldn’t stop, pause and rewind, skip, or otherwise select which episode you wanted to watch on demand.
Pluto TV, which is also owned by Paramount, has stated that Yellowstone will not be included in its on-demand collection. If you were unable to watch the marathon this weekend, Pluto has stated that the show will be streamed again later this year — though he did not specify when this would occur.
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Yellowstone should be on peacock, not Paramount Plus.
No matter how many streaming services come out of Hollywood, each one makes its own decisions about what, if anything, they should keep for itself. In an effort to reclaim its content, some streaming providers have taken a more forceful stance than others.
Disney has been steadfast in allowing its licencing agreements with other services to expire. For four years, Netflix was allowed to broadcast Disney’s theatrical releases for an estimated $200 to $300 million per year. As a result, Disney Plus decided to let Netflix’s partnership expire so it could focus on its own repertoire and not compete with other streaming services.
Yellowstone and The Office were both licenced to NBCUniversal’s Peacock service in 2021, allowing Peacock to broadcast the series for the first time.
HBO Max, a WarnerMedia subsidiary, has repeatedly reclaimed NBCUniversal and Peacock’s rights to all eight Harry Potter films. All of those films were licenced to NBCUniversal by Warner Bros., a WarnerMedia subsidiary, in a historic deal struck years ago. Instead of HBO Max, NBCUniversal’s Peacock will be streaming these shows. They’ve been lured back by WarnerMedia, which wants to promote HBO Max with a popular property, on a number of occasions.
When it comes to Paramount Plus’s best titles, the company has been far more open to licencing them out to other studios.
Licensing out titles may be a lucrative business, and that’s one factor. Nearly a quarter of Paramount’s income last year came from licencing, which generated $5.6 billion. Paw Patrol stuffed animals and costumes are among the many licences that generate revenue for the show. However, Paramount Plus’ immediate competitors are also receiving titles like Yellowstone, South Park, and others. The money you could have made by licencing your own code to someone else is lost when you provide it exclusively to your own service.
And Paramount has a massive back collection of around 140,000 TV episodes and 4,000 films to draw upon. All of that is not acceptable to Paramount Plus in the company’s eyes.
“This isn’t something we can keep completely to ourselves. This is illogical, “After launching Paramount Plus, CEO Bob Bakish made the statement last year. That’s too much.
According to Bakish’s statements, the company’s policy is “changing” when it comes to licencing and keeping its own content in-house. During an interview in November, he stated that the company’s licencing strategy had “changed to become much more focused” on having its own franchises on its own streaming service. A company’s pre-Paramount Plus agreement “legacy” can have a long-term effect, he said. Bakish claimed in February that striking a Yellowstone licence deal with Peacock during the completion of a big merger was “unfortunate.” Bakish mentioned this again in March.
However, Paramount Plus also believed that it could attract more new subscribers if it allowed other, larger services to stream some of its titles. Paramount Plus’s reboots and spinoffs will have a larger fan base if the original show’s audience is widened by additional platforms, according to Bakish.
Perverse logic is at play here. When compared to Paramount Plus, Netflix has more than 221 million users globally. Netflix’s release of Avatar: The Last Airbender in 2020 boosted ViacomCBS’ decision to open a new studio in 2021 to produce further Avatar-related content.
Having Yellowstone on Peacock doesn’t help Paramount secure wider distribution for the film, however. Paramount Plus had 24.5 month active users at the end of 2021, while Peacock had just approximately 16 million paid accounts that unlock Yellowstone at the end of the year.
With its new streaming service, Paramount is bringing back some of its most popular series. In February, South Park announced that it was separating from HBO Max and moving to Paramount Plus. Instead on HBO Max, new episodes of South Park will launch on Paramount Plus in 2024. Paramount Plus will then receive the whole US back library of South Park in 2025.
However, when it comes to reclaiming the rights to Yellowstone, Paramount has remained silent.
As a result, Paramount Plus viewers who are new to the Yellowstone prequels on Paramount Plus will need to look elsewhere to learn about the Dutton family’s arrival in Montana and their rise to prominence as ranching titans.