Back in 2017 Viacom CBS announced a partnership with Netflix to distribute their brand new Star Trek series globally outside of North America and Canada. This gave nearly 200 countries the chance to legally watch “Star Trek: Discovery” week by week, the day after it was available on CBS All Access in America and on CTV/Crave in Canada. It was a win-win situation for both the studio and fans of the long-running sci-fi franchise. This deal continued for season 2 in early 2019 and for season 3 later in 2020 with the show continuing to be branded as a Netflix Original.
Season 4 is due to launch on November 18th and as we have got closer and closer without any official word of a global Netflix release fans, rightly, started to worry. That worry is now over, but it is not good news. Viacom, the owners of CBS and Paramount, yesterday announced that season 4 will not be coming to Netflix and that all 3 seasons of the show will be removed from Netflix globally at the end of the day and will only be available on their own streaming platform Paramount+. Viacom, it turns out, have bought back the global streaming rights to the entire series.
If you’re American then that’s fine – you always needed to subscribe to CBS All Access, which later rebranded to Paramount+, so no real change there. Crave are keeping the rights for Canada too, so what about the rest of the world? Well, Paramount+ is currently only available in the USA, Australia, Canada, Latin America, the Middle East and the Nordics, and United States with a European launch set for ‘sometime in 2022’, possibly ‘early 2022’.
In the UK, Sky has confirmed that access to Paramount+ will be included as part of their Sky/NOW Cinema bundles and that other Sky subscribers can pay an additional fee to add Paramount+ to their account. It will also be available as a standalone app/service outside of Sky for iOS/Android/TVs. STreaming is gradually becoming the modern equivalent of the old US-cable system – with multiple subscriptions required to watch instead of getting it all in one place.
To add insult to injury, seasons 1-3 have been removed from Netflix and there is now no legal way to stream* ANY episode of “Star Trek: Discovery” until Paramount+ launches. As mentioned, that means fans in Europe who are willing to pay out for the additional subscription will have to wait until ‘early 2022’ to see the new season which launches tomorrow. For the rest of the world? Who knows – Paramount+ might get to you one day…
While I can almost understand Viacom wanting to keep the new season as an exclusive, it seems silly to remove seasons 1-3 from Netflix globally when there are literally no legal alternative ways to watch the show. It’s like they’re wanting to promote piracy…
Let us know in the comments below if you plan to keep watching the series or if Viacom’s actions have soured the show for you.
If you’re interested, here’s Paramount’s official announcement from Twitter:
— Star Trek on Paramount+ (@StarTrekOnPPlus) November 16, 2021