NBC (Peacock) and CBS (Paramount Plus) are taking their longstanding television rivalry to the next frontier with on-demand and livestreaming content.
With similar pricing structures and content plans, which of these is the best choice for people who are looking to cut the cord and save money?
Team Clark has reviewed most of the streaming services on the market; we’ve evaluated them for their content libraries, original programming, pricing and features.
In this article, I’ll compare Peacock and Paramount Plus in those key categories to help you decide which service is best for your household.
Table of Contents:
Quick Facts: Peacock vs. Paramount Plus
|Limited free tier, subscriptions from $4.99 per month
|Subscriptions from $4.99 per month
|Paramount Global (formerly ViacomCBS)
|Associated TV Networks
|Top Streaming Options
|The Office, Yellowstone
|Bel-Air, Saved By The Bell
|1883, The Good Fight
|Olympics, Major League Baseball
|NCAA Tournament, The Masters
In this article, I’ll explore the differences in pricing strategy, content libraries, original programming and streaming features of Peacock and Paramount Plus.
Monthly subscription options from both services start at $4.99 and can cost as much as $9.99. There are annual subscription options that could save you a few bucks if you’re willing to commit for a full year.
Peacock also offers a free tier, but it offers a limited library that excludes many of the popular features of the service.
Here’s a look at the pricing model for each service.
|Type of Subscription
|Monthly Subscription Fee
|Annual Subscription Fee
|Peacock Premium (Limited Advertisements)
|Peacock Plus (Commercial Free)
Paramount Plus Pricing
|Type of Subscription
|Monthly Subscription Fee
|Annual Subscription Fee
|Paramount+ Essential (Limited Advertisements)
|Paramount+ Premium (Commercial Free)
Both services have placed themselves in a pricing sweet spot when compared to some of the industry giants. For example, both are comfortably cheaper than Netflix, which charges upward of $20 per month for its service (starting at $10 for a basic offering).
Peacock and Paramount Plus share similar approaches to content within their subscriptions. You’ll have access to full seasons of television shows, movies and some limited live TV elements with both services.
Which of these you find to be best may depend on your personal content tastes, but we’ll walk through how each of these services builds out its content library to help you understand why one might offer one show you like but not another.
On-Demand TV and Movies
Since it’s owned by NBCUniversal, Peacock has access to television series produced by the NBC family of television networks as well as the Universal Studios library of movies.
Some familiar TV networks owned by NBCUniversal include: Bravo, CNBC, E!, MSNBC, NBC, Oxygen, SYFY, Universal Kids and USA.
Paramount Plus, meanwhile, is owned by Paramount Global (formerly ViacomCBS). It has access to the CBS family of television networks and movies from the Paramount library.
Some familiar TV networks owned by Paramount Global include: BET, CBS, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, Showtime and VH1.
With some rare exceptions, such as Peacock owning the streaming rights to Paramount Network’s smash-hit drama Yellowstone, you can expect that streaming availability for popular shows from the networks and movie studios listed above to align with the parent company that owns either Peacock or Paramount Plus.
Here is a sampling of some of the popular TV offerings from each streaming service.
- The Office
- Parks & Recreation
- Saturday Night Live
- Will & Grace
- 30 Rock
- Friday Night Lights
- Downton Abbey
- King of Queens
- Everybody Loves Raymond
- The Law & Order franchises
- Two and a Half Men
- Blue Bloods
- Big Brother
- 60 Minutes
- Reno 911!
- Chapelle’s Show
- The Daily Show
- Key and Peele
- SpongeBob Square Pants
- Blue’s Clues
- Paw Patrol
- Peppa Pig
Keep in mind that the on-demand libraries for these services can change often.
Livestreaming TV Channels
Both Peacock and Paramount Plus feature live TV streaming channels that provide news, sports, weather and entertainment options 24 hours per day.
Paramount Plus offers Premium subscribers access to a livestream of the local CBS affiliate in select markets. And Peacock offers some local NBC content for its pay-level subscribers as well.
CBS and NBC both have news-oriented streams available on the respective services, which should allow you to stay plugged into the 24-hour national news cycle if you are without access to cable news networks.
However, most of these streaming channels are a compilation of one type of content delivered in a traditional TV format with commercials. This is similar to something you might expect to see on a free streaming service such as Pluto TV.
In an effort to complete with the original productions of Netflix, Amazon and Apple’s streaming services, both Peacock and Paramount Plus are using their parent companies’ studio space to create content of their own.
Top Original TV Shows
Peacock has chosen to blend some reboots of popular shows of yesteryear, such as Saved By The Bell and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, with new concepts from Hollywood stars to comprise its original programming menu that is available only to paying customers.
A sample of available originals includes:
- Saved by the Bell: a reboot of the popular 1990s teen comedy features original series stars Mario Lopez (A.C. Slater) and Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie Spano)
- Bel-Air: a modern-day take on the 1990s Will Smith classic The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
- A.P. Bio: After two seasons on NBC, this classroom comedy starring Glenn Howerton and Patton Oswalt moves to the streaming service for Season 3.
- Battlestar Galactica: a reboot of the popular sci-fi series
- Girls5Eva: a Tina Fey-produced show about a one-hit-wonder 90s band getting back together
- Punky Brewster: a reboot of the popular 1980s sitcom
- Who Wrote That: a Saturday Night Live docu-series from creator Lorne Michaels
- Rutherford Falls: a comedy starring Ed Helms
- Straight Talk: a comedy featuring Rashida Jones and Jada Pinkett Smith
You can review a full list of Peacock Originals here.
Paramount Plus Originals
Though Paramount Plus doesn’t have streaming rights to its own hit drama Yellowstone at this time, the service is still leaning heavily on it for original programming.
The show’s origin story is told on 1883, which is a Paramount Plus exclusive series. Paramount has announced plans for another Yellowstone spinoff called 1932 that will also be an exclusive to the streaming service.
Paramount Plus also is home to multiple exclusive Star Trek series.
Some samples of Paramount Plus’ original content include:
- 1883 (Yellowstone origin story)
- Seal Team
- South Park: The Streaming Wars
- Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years
- MTV’s The Real World: Homecoming
- Star Trek: Discovery
- Star Trek: Picard
- The Good Fight: What Is Memo 618
- The Twilight Zone
- Tooning Out The News
You can review the selection of Paramount Plus Originals here.
Live Sports Broadcasts
Another area in which these streaming services are trying to differentiate themselves is with live sports.
Peacock is the exclusive streaming home of both the Summer and Winter Olympics. It also has an exclusive Sunday morning Major League Baseball game. And the entire WWE Network is available on Peacock.
Meanwhile, Paramount Plus touts access to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament (March Madness) and several big golf tournaments including The Masters.
Both NBC and CBS have exclusive rights to select NFL football games in the fall. Paid Peacock subscribers can view Sunday Night Football, and Paramount Plus Premium subscribers will be able to watch NFL games intended for their local coverage area on Sunday afternoons.
As for soccer, Peacock has English Premier League broadcasts while Paramount Plus has UEFA Champions League.
Since there is very little overlap in the content these two services provide, cord cutters are more likely to view them as complementary services that will help replace the familiar content their parent companies offer on traditional cable TV.
Rather than trying to determine whether one is “better” than the other, I’d encourage you to evaluate the content you’d like to view from each of them and make a plan for getting the most value for your dollar.
One cost-saving method is rotating from one streaming service to the next every few months. Pick a few series or movies you’d like to focus on binge-watching with one service and pay for just one of them at a time. When those are done, rotate to the next one.
Or, if you like both, you could opt for the ad-supported tiers to ensure that you’re paying just $10 per month for all of the content.
Do you have experience with either of these streaming services? We’d love to hear your opinions on Peacock and Paramount Plus in the Clark.com Community!
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