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Everything you need to know about the $4.99-a-month Paramount Plus Essential plan

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(Image credit: WhatToWatch.com)

In March 2021, CBS All Access became Paramount+. The biggest change at that time was one of branding, plus the addition of even more content. The plans stayed the same. The prices stayed the same. And you got even more to watch.

Not a bad deal.

But we also knew that one fairly major change was on the horizon. The less expensive of the two Paramount+ plans was actually going to become even more affordable after a few months.

That time has come. On June 7, 2021, the Paramount Plus price structured changed slightly. But only for new subscribers — and only for the less expensive plan. It's called Paramount+ Essential, and it's still a pretty darn good deal.

Here's everything you need to know about the changes.

What are the new Paramount Plus plans?

Starting June 7, 2021, Paramount+ has two plans, just as it did before. But one of those plans is changing somewhat. Here's what's now available:

  • Paramount Plus Commercial-Free: $9.99 a month, or $99.99 a year
  • Paramount Plus Essential: $4.99 a month, or $49.99 a year

What's changed is that there no longer is a $5.99 option. It's not every day that you see a streaming service become less expensive, so you'd be right in questioning the move.

What's different about the Paramount Plus Essential plan?

Both of the Paramount+ plans will have access to the full catalog of more than 30,000 shows and movies. They'll both still have access to live sports, including regional NFL games on Paramount+.

You'll still get to watch all the new Paramount+ originals. You'll be able to enjoy the ever-expanding Yellowstone universe. You'll still be able to watch Paramount Plus on Roku. You'll still be able to watch Paramount Plus on Amazon Fire TV.

The biggest difference between the new $4.99 Paramount+ Essential plan and the old $5.99 "limited commercials" plan is that the new, cheaper option doesn't have access to a live stream of your local CBS affiliate. (We've known that pretty much from Day 1 of Paramount+.) You will, however, still be able to watch your regional NFL games, as well as Champions League football. Those will be served up separately.

Another difference is that you won't be able to download shows and movies for offline viewing. (That's also in line with the new ad-supported plan for HBO Max.)

What if you had the $5.99 Paramount Plus plan before?

If you've been enjoying the less-expensive plan on Paramount Plus until now (and on CBS All Access beforehand), you'll get to keep it for the foreseeable future.  

The only catch here is that if you cancel that plan after June 7, you won't be able to get it back. After that it's either the $4.99 Essential plan, or the $9.99 commercial-free plan.