Yellowstone is, by far, the most important hit on the Paramount Network — and one of many prime hits on cable tv total. Its fifth-season premiere Sunday drew the most important viewers of any TV present to this point this 12 months.
Paramount Plus would appear the pure place to show to for anybody hoping to stream the premiere and the present’s previous seasons to catch up. But, counterintuitively, the one present most related to the Paramount title is nowhere to be discovered on Paramount Plus.
If you wish to binge Yellowstone’s first three seasons, you will have to pay for rival service Peacock, which has an unique deal to be the one subscription service streaming Yellowstone. If you wish to atone for the earlier season (season 4), you possibly can watch it with Peacock or you possibly can attempt to unlock the Paramount Network app. And if you wish to stream the brand new fifth season, then the Paramount Network app or web site is the one sport on the town.
But 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 standard cable channel like Paramount Network is an enormous enterprise, and so is the income generated by licensing out exhibits to different providers. Paramount positioned a guess some time in the past — earlier than it was clear simply how massive Yellowstone would get — that some top-shelf applications could possibly be extra priceless in the event that they’re out there someplace apart from Paramount Plus. In this case, that meant Paramount’s largest present is not on Paramount Plus in any respect. (In retrospect, that will have been an particularly dangerous guess.)
Paramount Plus hopes its personal specific concoction of TV and films will hook you by itself imaginative and prescient for TV’s future, like opponents like Disney Plus, HBO Max, Apple TV Plus, Peacock and Discovery Plus are attempting to do too. But 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 films on-line.
Where to look at Yellowstone season 5
If you are attempting to seek out Yellowstone to stream, the primary distinction to know is that Paramount Plus is completely different than Paramount Network. While Paramount Plus is a subscription streaming service, Paramount Network is a standard cable channel out there to individuals who pay for it by way of a live-TV supplier. Paramount Network is the place Yellowstone’s new fifth season will run 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 — outdated episodes or new ones — in any respect.
Paramount Network for season 5 (and to atone for season 4)
If you wish to watch any new, fifth-season episodes of Yellowstone, you will want to show to Paramount Network’s channel, its web site at paramountnetwork.com or its Paramount Network app. The fourth season of Yellowstone is obtainable by way of Paramount Network’s app too, however it does not have season one by way of three.
Important notice about timing: Yellowstone runs on the Paramount Network on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT and seven p.m. CT, however streaming availability does not begin on the positioning and app till the day after they’re televised. That means Sunday’s exhibits turn into out there to stream Monday — you possibly can’t stream them the identical evening as they’re on tv.
Luckily, Paramount Network is making the primary episode of the brand new season easy to stream: It is obtainable to stream exterior the paywall on the community’s web site and the Paramount Network app, so anyone within the US can watch it at paramountnetwork.com or in app. Even if you happen to’re not paying for a standard TV service with Paramount Network, you possibly can nonetheless watch the primary episode of the season. You cannot, 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 will 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 Network. Most usually, which means having cable, satellite tv for pc or a live-channel streaming service like YouTube TV or Philo. (Philo is without doubt one of the least expensive on-line choices to get entry to Paramount Network; it additionally gives a weeklong free trial.)
Peacock for seasons 1 by way of 4
The first 4 seasons of Yellowstone can be found to stream on Peacock, a streaming service run by NBCUniversal. Every episode of Yellowstone is paywalled: You have to be on one in every of its paid subscription tiers that sometimes price both $5 a month with adverts 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 are unique to its service. The first was a Yellowstone prequel titled 1883, which focuses on the Dutton household greater than a century earlier as they set up the Yellowstone Ranch. Another prequel sequence, 1923, will characteristic tales about members of the Dutton household who’re kids through 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 a complete secure of exhibits both associated to Yellowstone or produced by Sheridan.
Why Yellowstone is not streaming the one place you’d count on
Every 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 with NBCUniversal’s Peacock in 2020, greater than a 12 months 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 significant deal that permit Netflix stream Disney’s theatrical films for an estimated $200 million to $300 million a 12 months over 4 years. But Disney Plus needed to turn into a dependable hub for its personal catalog, so Disney let that Netflix deal run out and stopped buying these blockbusters to rival providers.
NBCUniversal, along with licensing Yellowstone for its Peacock service, gained the rights to its personal present The Office again from Netflix in the beginning of 2021 so Peacock may stream the sitcom completely.
And WarnerMedia’s HBO Max has repeatedly clawed again rights to all eight Harry Potter films from NBCUniversal and Peacock. WarnerMedia’s Warner Bros. licensed all these films to NBCUniversal years in the past in an epic deal. That put NBCUniversal’s Peacock in line to stream them slightly than HBO Max. But 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.
Part of the reason being that licensing is usually a profitable enterprise. Last 12 months, Paramount made $6.5 billion in income from licensing, almost 1 / 4 of the corporate’s complete 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. But a part of licensing can also be farming out titles like Yellowstone and others to Paramount Plus’ direct rivals. When you grant your individual programming to your individual service completely, you forsake cash you possibly can’ve hauled in if you happen to’d licensed it to another person.
And Paramount has an enormous again catalog to faucet into: roughly 140,000 TV episodes and 4,000 movies. The firm has mentioned it does not need all that on Paramount Plus. “We can’t keep all that for ourself. It doesn’t make sense,” CEO Bob Bakish mentioned as Paramount Plus was making ready for launch. “It’s too much.”
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 firm’s licensing technique has “shifted to become much more focused” on having its personal franchises by itself streaming service, he mentioned final 12 months. But the “legacy deals” the corporate struck earlier than the launch of Paramount Plus can have a protracted tail, he added. And in February, Bakish mentioned it was “unfortunate” to strike a Yellowstone licensing cope with Peacock within the midst of closing a significant merger.
However, past the cash Paramount makes by licensing, Paramount Plus additionally believed it would be capable of draw in additional new members if it let different, greater providers have a few of its titles to stream. Bakish has famous that different platforms can broaden the viewers for an older present in order that its reboots and spinoffs have a much bigger fan base for Paramount Plus.
It’s a perverse kind of logic. But Netflix has greater than 22 million members worldwide, versus Paramount Plus’ 46 million. Interest in Avatar: The Last Airbender surged in 2020 when the present hit Netflix, actually serving to encourage Paramount’s 2021 choice to launch a complete new studio devoted to recent Avatar-related programming.
Unfortunately, Paramount is not gaining a lot attain for Yellowstone by having it on Peacock. Peacock is even smaller than Paramount Plus: Only about 15 million subscribers are on Peacock’s paid tiers that unlock Yellowstone, lower than a 3rd the scale 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 means Paramount Plus, the corporate mentioned in February. In 2024, new South Park episodes can 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.
But to this point, Paramount has been silent about clawing again the rights to Yellowstone.
That implies that for brand spanking 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.