Yellowstone is, by far, the most important hit on the Paramount Network — and one of many high hits on cable tv general. Its fourth season finale earlier this 12 months eclipsed 10 million viewers, topping even the finale for House of the Dragon final month. The saga of the Dutton household will return Sunday with its fifth season premiere in what the community is looking a “two-hour occasion.” 

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. However, 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 make amends for the earlier season (season 4), you’ll be able to watch with Peacock or you’ll be able to attempt to unlock the Paramount Community app. And if you wish to stream the latest season kicking off Sunday, then the Paramount Community app or web site is the one choice.  

However 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 conventional cable channel like Paramount Community is a giant enterprise, and so is the income generated by licensing out exhibits to different companies. Paramount positioned a wager some time in the past — earlier than it was clear simply how huge Yellowstone would get — that some top-shelf applications may very well be extra useful in the event that they’re accessible someplace apart from Paramount Plus. On this case, that meant Paramount’s largest present is not on Paramount Plus in any respect. (Looking back, that will have been an especially bad bet.)

Paramount Plus hopes its personal explicit concoction of TV and films will hook you by itself imaginative and prescient for TV’s future, like rivals like Disney Plus, HBO Max, Apple TV Plus, Peacock and Discovery Plus try to do too. However 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. 

The right way to watch Yellowstone

If you happen to’re making an attempt to search out Yellowstone to stream, the principle distinction to know is that Paramount Plus is totally different than Paramount Community. Whereas Paramount Plus is a subscription streaming service, Paramount Community is a conventional cable channel accessible to individuals who pay for it by means of a live-TV supplier. Paramount Community 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’ll be able to’t stream Yellowstone — previous episodes or new ones — in any respect. 

Paramount Community for season 5 (and catchup on season 4)

If you wish to watch any new, fifth-season episodes of Yellowstone, you will want to show to Paramount Community’s channel, its web site at or its Paramount Community app. The fourth season of Yellowstone is offered by means of Paramount Community’s app too, nevertheless it does not have season one by means of three. 

Essential notice about timing: All new Yellowstone episodes can be found on the positioning and app the day after they’re televised on the community. Which means Sunday’s premiere will change into accessible to stream beginning Monday.

Fortunately, Paramount Community is making the premiere episode easy to stream: It will likely be accessible to stream exterior the paywall on the community’s web site and the Paramount Community app, so anyone within the US can watch it at or in app. Even should you’re not paying for a conventional TV service with Paramount Community, you’ll be able to nonetheless watch the primary episode of the season. 

If the corporate follows its observe from final 12 months, the primary episode of season 5 would be the just one accessible free. 

To stream some other new episodes, you will must be an “authenticated” viewer — that’s, anyone who can log in with live-TV service’s credentials to show you are already paying for Paramount Community. Most frequently, 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 most cost-effective on-line choices to get entry to Paramount Community; it additionally affords a weeklong free trial.) 

Peacock for seasons 1 by means of 4

The primary 4 seasons of Yellowstone can be found to stream on Peacock, a streaming service run by NBCUniversal. Each episode of Yellowstone is paywalled: You should be on certainly one of its paid subscription tiers that sometimes value 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 comparable programming by its creator, Taylor Sheridan, which are unique to its service. The primary was a Yellowstone prequel titled 1883, which focuses on the Dutton household greater than a century earlier as they set up the Yellowstone Ranch. One other prequel sequence, 1923, will function tales about members of the Dutton household who’re kids in the course of 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 an entire secure of exhibits both associated to Yellowstone or produced by Sheridan. 

Why Yellowstone is not streaming on the one place you’d anticipate

Each 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 recognition the final two years, Paramount’s resolution 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 companies have been aggressive in getting their titles again to their very own companies. 

Disney has been agency in letting its offers expire for something it beforehand licensed out to different companies. That included a significant deal that permit Netflix stream Disney’s theatrical motion pictures for an estimated $200 million to $300 million a 12 months over 4 years. However Disney Plus wished to change into a dependable hub for its personal catalog, so Disney let that Netflix deal run out and stopped purchasing these blockbusters to rival companies.

NBCUniversal, along with licensing Yellowstone for its Peacock service, received the rights to its personal present The Workplace again from Netflix firstly of 2021 so Peacock might stream the sitcom solely. 

And WarnerMedia’s HBO Max has repeatedly clawed again rights to all eight Harry Potter motion pictures from NBCUniversal and Peacock. WarnerMedia’s Warner Bros. licensed all these motion pictures to NBCUniversal years ago in an epic deal. That put NBCUniversal’s Peacock in line to stream them reasonably than HBO Max. However WarnerMedia has snagged them again repeatedly, in an effort to spice up HBO Max with a well-liked franchise. 

Paramount Plus, nonetheless, has been extra prepared to license its high titles elsewhere. 

A part of the reason being that licensing could be a profitable enterprise. Final 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. However a part of licensing can be farming out titles like Yellowstone and others to Paramount Plus’ direct rivals. While you grant your individual programming to your individual service solely, you forsake cash you possibly can’ve hauled in should you’d licensed it to another person. 

And Paramount has a giant again catalog to faucet into: roughly 140,000 TV episodes and 4,000 movies. The corporate has mentioned it does not need all that on Paramount Plus. “We will not preserve all that for ourself. It does not make sense,” CEO Bob Bakish mentioned as Paramount Plus was getting ready for launch. “It is an excessive amount of.”

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 corporate’s licensing technique has “shifted to change into rather more targeted” on having its personal franchises by itself streaming service, he mentioned final 12 months. However the “legacy offers” the corporate struck earlier than the launch of Paramount Plus can have a protracted tail, he added. And in February, Bakish mentioned it was “unlucky” to strike a Yellowstone licensing cope with Peacock within the midst of closing a major merger.

Nevertheless, past the cash Paramount makes by licensing, Paramount Plus additionally believed it’d have the ability to draw in additional new members if it let different, larger companies have a few of its titles to stream. Bakish has famous that different platforms can increase the viewers for an older present in order that its reboots and spinoffs have an even bigger fan base for Paramount Plus. 

It is a perverse type of logic. However Netflix has greater than 22 million members worldwide, versus Paramount Plus’ 46 million. Curiosity in Avatar: The Final Airbender surged in 2020 when the present hit Netflix, definitely serving to encourage Paramount’s 2021 resolution to launch a complete new studio dedicated to fresh Avatar-related programming. 

Sadly, Paramount is not gaining a lot attain for Yellowstone by having it on Peacock. Peacock is even smaller than Paramount Plus: Solely about 15 million subscribers are on Peacock’s paid tiers that unlock Yellowstone, lower than a 3rd the dimensions of Paramount Plus’ membership base. 

Most 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 approach Paramount Plus, the corporate mentioned in February. In 2024, new South Park episodes could have their streaming premieres on Paramount Plus reasonably than on HBO Max. Then in 2025, Paramount Plus will get the complete back-catalog of South Park within the US. 

However to date, Paramount has been silent about clawing again the rights to Yellowstone. 

That implies that for brand 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. 

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