Paramount Plus is taking a page from ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV streaming service with the launch of 18 linear channels that let subscribers surf through always-on themed collections of shows — you know, just like old-fashioned television.
On Thursday, Paramount Plus launched Live Channels, a new feature that curates popular shows and movies on the service in linear channels, pulled from ViacomCBS properties including CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, BET and the Smithsonian Channel as well as from other sources.
The themed “live” channels, streaming 24 hours per day, feature the service’s most-streamed genres, such as Kids & Family Fun, Crime & Justice and Reality TV: Competitions, as well as fan-favorite franchises such as “Star Trek,” “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Paw Patrol.”
Paramount Plus is adopting the linear TV-style model pioneered by Pluto TV, which Viacom acquired in early 2019. Tom Ryan, founder of Pluto TV, was elevated to president and CEO of ViacomCBS Streaming a year ago.
Paramount Plus’ Live Channels also will potentially provide a new bucket of advertising inventory for the streaming service to sell. At launch, there won’t be ads in the channels for either the Paramount Plus Premium ($9.99/month) or the ad-supporter Essential ($4.99/month) tiers, but eventually ViacomCBS may introduce ads for customers with the Essential package.
“Even in the era of on-demand, there is clearly a strong consumer appetite for reimagined linear channels that provide effortless, lean-back entertainment,” Ryan said in announcing the new feature. “Inspired and informed by the winning model Pluto TV pioneered and popularized, these highly curated channels underscore the power of our unified streaming organization and serve as a product differentiator in the SVOD space, by offering subscribers yet another way to experience and discover programming on Paramount Plus.”
Paramount Plus plans to continue to roll out new channels, including a movies channel and one for “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” both of which will launch later in December.
Here’s the list of the first group of Paramount Plus Live Channels launching today:
- 24/7 Laughs: Featuring episodes of popular comedy series such as “Hot in Cleveland,” “Reno 911” and “Tosh.0”
- Adult Animation: With content from series such as “Beavis and Butt-Head,” “Celebrity Deathmatch” and “Daria”
- All Day Drama: Featuring shows like “Evil,” “The Twilight Zone,” “Touched by an Angel,” and “The Guardian”
- Animation Favorites: Kids’ animated series such as “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” “Rugrats,” “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “The Fairly OddParents”
- Black Voices: A celebration of Black voices and stories with a collection of popular series such as “Chappelle’s Show,” “Key & Peele,” “The Game” and “The Neighborhood”
- Crime & Justice: Primetime procedurals such as “Bull,” “Blue Bloods,” “CSI: Miami,” “MacGyver,” “Seal Team” and “The Good Wife”
- History & Undiscovered: Selection from the Smithsonian Channel including “Sacred Sites,” “Secrets,” “America’s Hidden Stories” and “Secrets Unlocked”
- Kids & Family Fun: A destination for the whole family with favorites such as “Henry Danger,” “iCarly,” “The Thundermans” and “Zoey 101”
- Nostalgic Hits: Featuring episodes from iconic series including “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Cheers,” “Frasier,” “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “Wings”
- Paw Patrol: In addition to episodes from the original show, the channel includes “Paw Patrol: The Movie” and “Paw Patrol: Live at Home!”
- Preschool Corner: Parent-approved programming for younger viewers such as “Blue’s Clues,” “Bubble Guppies,” “Dora the Explorer,” “Paw Patrol” and “Peppa Pig”
- Reality TV: Competition: Collection of popular reality TV series, including “Ink Master,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Survivor”
- Reality TV: Shores: Content from the MTV franchise, including episodes from “Jersey Shore,” “Jersey Shore Family Vacation” and “Floribama Show”
- SpongeBob Universe: Home to all things Bikini Bottom, the channel will feature episodes from “SpongeBob SquarePants,” and “Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years” and popular SpongeBob SquarePants movies
- Star Trek: A destination for fans of the sci-fi franchise, featuring popular originals such as “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Star Trek: Picard,” plus series such as “Star Trek: Enterprise” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation”
- Survivor: Featuring 40 seasons of the long-running reality series
- The Challenge: Best moments from the reality series, including “The Challenge” and “The Challenge: All-Stars”
- TV Classics: Curated selection of iconic series such as “I Love Lucy,” “The Love Boat” and “The Twilight Zone”
The Pluto-style linear channels join Paramount Plus’ live TV lineup that includes championship sports, such as the NFL on CBS and UEFA, as well as breaking news from CBSN and entertainment news from “Entertainment Tonight.” Premium subscribers also have access to their local live CBS stations.
Through Dec. 31, new subscribers can try Paramount Plus for 30 days free by using the promo code “PEAKSALE.”