Why Yellowstone, Paramount's Biggest Show, Isn't On Paramount Plus

Yellowstone fifth season premiere in November attracted the largest television audience of the year to date.

The Paramount Network's and all of cable television's top program is Yellowstone. Its fifth season premiere in November attracted the largest television audience of the year to date.

Anyone looking to stream season 5 and previous seasons of the show should likely go to Paramount Plus. If you like to watch Paramount TV shows and movies on your TV, you can do so. But contrary to expectations, Paramount Plus does not have the one show that is most closely linked to the company's reputation.

For several months, the Paramount Network app or website will be your only way to stream the new season. You can watch the previous season to catch up on what you missed on Peacock, a competing streaming service, or once more on Paramount Network. A subscription to Peacock, the only service with an exclusive deal to stream Yellowstone, is required if you want to binge the show's first three seasons.

Despite how perplexing it is, it was somewhat intentional. It's big business to have a popular show on a traditional cable channel like Paramount Network, and it's an even bigger business to make money by licensing your shows to other services. Before it was clear how big Yellowstone would grow, Paramount staked a while back that some top-tier programs might be worth more if they weren't exclusive to Paramount Plus. Because of this, Paramount's most popular program isn't available on Paramount Plus.

Like its rivals Disney Plus, HBO Max, Apple TV Plus, Peacock, and Discovery Plus, Paramount Plus hopes its unique blend of television and motion pictures will hook you on its own vision for the future of television. Even when a service like Paramount Plus rallies around its own content, it may not necessarily make it easier for you to find and watch your favorite shows and movies online, as highlighted by Yellowstone's complicated licensing agreement.

How to stream Yellowstone season 5 online

The main distinction to be aware of when looking for Yellowstone to stream is that Paramount Plus is distinct from Paramount Network. While Paramount Plus is a paid streaming service, Paramount Network is a traditional cable channel that subscribers to live TV services can access. The premiere of Yellowstone's new season airs on Paramount Network.

The only paid streaming service that has Yellowstone episodes is Peacock, which is the second distinction to be aware of. There is no way to stream any episodes of Yellowstone, old or new, on Paramount Plus.

Paramount Network for season 5 

You must access the Paramount Network channel, its website at paramountnetwork.com, or its Paramount Network app if you want to watch any fresh episodes of Yellowstone from the fifth season. The Paramount Network app also offers Yellowstone's fourth season, but it is missing seasons 1 through 3.

Important timing information Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT and 7 p.m. CT, Yellowstone airs on the Paramount Network, but streaming doesn't begin on the website and mobile application until the day after. The shows from Sunday are therefore not available to stream the same night they air on television, but rather on Monday.

Fortunately, Paramount Network has made it simple to stream the premiere of the new season: Anyone in the US can watch it at paramountnetwork.com or in the app because it is accessible to stream without a subscription on the network's website and mobile app. You can still watch the season's premiere on Paramount Network even if you don't subscribe to a traditional TV service. However, the second episode of the season, which was also broadcast on Sunday, cannot be viewed without paying a fee.

You must be an "authenticated" viewer—someone who can log in with live-TV service credentials to prove you've already paid for Paramount Network—in order to stream the second episode or any other upcoming episodes. Having cable, satellite, or a live-channel streaming service like YouTube TV or Philo is the most common requirement for this.

Peacock for seasons 1 through 4

Yellowstone's first four seasons are viewable online on Peacock, an NBCUniversal streaming platform. You must be a subscriber to one of Yellowstone's paid subscription tiers, which typically cost $5 per month with ads or $10 per month ad-free, in order to watch any episode.

Paramount Plus for ... spinoffs

What does Paramount Plus have, then, if not Yellowstone? In order to make up for the absence of Yellowstone itself, Taylor Sheridan, the show's creator, has been producing a tonne of exclusive spinoffs, prequels, and spiritually related programming for Paramount Plus.

The first was a prequel to Yellowstone called 1883, which centers on the Dutton family as they build the Yellowstone Ranch more than a century earlier. Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren will star in the prequel series 1923, which will focus on stories about Dutton family members who were young during the events of 1883. It is slated to premiere in December. Additionally, a whole stable of shows produced by Sheridan or related to Yellowstone has been ordered by Paramount.

Why Yellowstone isn't streaming the one place you'd expect

Every new streaming service that comes out of Hollywood decides for itself how much content to keep to itself. The strange omission of Yellowstone from Paramount Plus is due to a licensing agreement the company made with NBCUniversal's Peacock in 2020, more than a year before Paramount Plus debuted.

The decision by Paramount to license out Yellowstone has come under fire as its popularity has soared over the past two years. Finding where to stream Yellowstone and related programming has become a frustrating maze for fans.

In order to bring their titles back to their own services, some streaming services have been aggressive.

Disney has consistently stood by the agreements it has with other services that it has previously licensed. Included in that was a significant agreement that allowed Netflix to stream Disney's theatrical releases for an estimated $200 million to $300 million over the course of four years. Disney, however, wanted Disney Plus to establish itself as a dependable source for its own library, so it let the Netflix agreement expire and stopped promoting those blockbusters to competing services.

In addition to acquiring Yellowstone for its Peacock service, NBCUniversal obtained The Office's rights back from Netflix at the start of 2021 so that Peacock could stream the sitcom solely.

Furthermore, NBCUniversal, Peacock, and WarnerMedia's HBO Max have repeatedly been forced to relinquish control of all eight Harry Potter films. In a historic agreement years ago, Warner Bros. of WarnerMedia licensed all those films to NBCUniversal. As opposed to HBO Max, NBCUniversal's Peacock was now in line to stream them. However, WarnerMedia has repeatedly gotten them back in an effort to boost HBO Max with a well-known franchise.

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