Yellowstone is, by far, the most important hit on the Paramount Network — and one of many prime hits on cable tv general. Its fourth season finale earlier this yr 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 asking 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 must 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 possibly can watch with Peacock or you possibly can attempt to unlock the Paramount Community app. And if you wish to stream the most recent season kicking off Sunday, then the Paramount Community app or web site is the one possibility.  

However you will not discover any Yellowstone on Paramount Plus, besides spinoffs. 

As complicated as that’s, it was considerably by design. Having a success present on a standard cable channel like Paramount Community is an enormous enterprise, and so is the income generated by licensing out exhibits to different providers. Paramount positioned a wager some time in the past — earlier than it was clear simply how massive Yellowstone would get — that some top-shelf packages could possibly be extra helpful in the event that they’re accessible someplace aside from Paramount Plus. On this case, that meant Paramount’s greatest present is not on Paramount Plus in any respect. (On reflection, which 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 are attempting 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 less complicated so that you can discover and watch your favourite exhibits and films on-line. 

The best way to stream Yellowstone

Should you’re attempting to search out Yellowstone to stream, the primary 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 standard cable channel accessible to individuals who pay for it via 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 possibly can’t stream Yellowstone — outdated 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 via Paramount Community’s app too, however it does not have season one via three. 

Essential observe about timing: All new Yellowstone episodes can be found on the location and app the day after they’re televised on the community. Meaning Sunday’s premiere will turn into accessible to stream beginning Monday.

Fortunately, Paramount Community is making the premiere episode easy to stream: Will probably 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 for those who’re not paying for a standard TV service with Paramount Community, you possibly can nonetheless watch the primary episode of the season. 

If the corporate follows its follow from final yr, 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 likely one of the most cost-effective on-line choices to get entry to Paramount Community; it additionally gives a weeklong free trial.) 

Peacock for seasons 1 via 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 usually value both $5 a month with advertisements 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 characteristic tales about members of the Dutton household who’re youngsters 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 a complete steady of exhibits both associated to Yellowstone or produced by Sheridan. 

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

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 yr earlier than Paramount Plus launched. 

As Yellowstone has soared in reputation the final two years, Paramount’s choice 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 providers have been aggressive in getting their titles again to their very own providers. 

Disney has been agency in letting its offers expire for something it beforehand licensed out to different providers. That included a significant deal that permit Netflix stream Disney’s theatrical films for an estimated $200 million to $300 million a yr over 4 years. However Disney Plus needed to turn into a dependable hub for its personal catalog, so Disney let that Netflix deal run out and stopped buying these blockbusters to rival providers.

NBCUniversal, along with licensing Yellowstone for its Peacock service, received the rights to its personal present The Workplace again from Netflix at the start of 2021 so Peacock may stream the sitcom completely. 

And WarnerMedia’s HBO Max has repeatedly clawed again rights to all eight Harry Potter films from NBCUniversal and Peacock. WarnerMedia’s Warner Bros. licensed all these films to NBCUniversal years ago in an epic deal. That put NBCUniversal’s Peacock in line to stream them slightly 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, nevertheless, has been extra keen to license its prime titles elsewhere. 

A part of the reason being that licensing is usually a profitable enterprise. Final yr, Paramount made $6.5 billion in income from licensing, practically 1 / 4 of the corporate’s whole 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 also be farming out titles like Yellowstone and others to Paramount Plus’ direct rivals. If you grant your personal programming to your personal service completely, you forsake cash you may’ve hauled in for those who’d licensed it to another person. 

And Paramount has an enormous again catalog to faucet into: roughly 140,000 TV episodes and 4,000 movies. The corporate has stated 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 stated as Paramount Plus was making ready for launch. “It is an excessive amount of.”

Bakish has repeatedly indicated the corporate’s technique is “evolving” by way of 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 turn into way more centered” on having its personal franchises by itself streaming service, he stated final yr. 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 stated it was “unlucky” to strike a Yellowstone licensing take care of 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, greater providers 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 a much bigger fan base for Paramount Plus. 

It is a perverse form 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, actually serving to encourage Paramount’s 2021 choice to launch a whole 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 scale of Paramount Plus’ membership base. 

Most just 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 means Paramount Plus, the corporate stated in February. In 2024, new South Park episodes may have their streaming premieres on Paramount Plus slightly than on HBO Max. Then in 2025, Paramount Plus will get the complete back-catalog of South Park within the US. 

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

That signifies that for brand spanking new followers of any of the Yellowstone prequels on Paramount Plus, as they watch the chronicles of the early Dutton household, Paramount Plus subscribers must go elsewhere to dive into who the modern-day Duttons even are. 

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