Paramount+ Crashes Because Of Yellowstone, And Users Are Furious

The Paramount+ app crashed Sunday night, as TV viewers mistakenly thought it carried the season premiere of Yellowstone.

By Vic Medina | Published

Streaming services can be a confusing place, with TV fans often scrambling to figure out where they can watch a new film or hot TV series. Such was the case on Sunday night when viewers eager to see the new season of Yellowstone subscribed to the Paramount+ streaming service in droves, only to discover the service doesn’t carry the show, only the prequel 1883. The number of new subscribers was so overwhelming, the app crashed worldwide, all over a show they didn’t actually offer.

Currently, the only way to view the current, fifth season of Yellowstone is on the Paramount Network, which is available through most cable providers and is a separate service from Paramount+. The Paramount Network also offers its own streaming app, which is not the same app as the Paramount+ streaming app. Although the apps have similar logos (the familiar mountain is used on both), the Paramount Network app requires you to verify your cable subscription to view content (including the new season of Yellowstone), while the Paramount+ app requires a separate subscription (and access to lots of movies but no Yellowstone), which naturally confuses a LOT of viewers.

After weeks of advertising and cable promotions trumpeting the season 5 premiere of Yellowstone on the Paramount Network, viewers assumed that also meant the show would be on the Paramount+ service as well. A number of these viewers subscribed to the service in the days ahead of the premiere, and were surprised when it didn’t show up on Sunday evening. So many viewers logged in to Paramount+, in fact, that the app crashed worldwide, according to the website DownDectector.

A screenshot from Down Detector, showing the spike in outages on Sunday evening.

The Paramount+ app also likely crashed because of a show it actually did offer: Tulsa King with Sylvester Stallone. That series premiered on Sunday as well, and is also from Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan. Between the demand from viewers looking for Yellowstone season five, and viewers looking for the premiere of Tulsa King, the app was down or sluggish most of Sunday evening.

Paramount has yet to fully clarify exactly why they continue to have two separate streaming services, only to say it is due to steaming agreements and licensing restrictions. Adding to the confusion is Paramount+ offered no help on social media, and seems to assume the casual TV viewer knows the difference between the two services. On Sunday evening, the Paramount+ Twitter account did respond to customer tweets asking about the difference, and then deleted the tweets later in the evening.

It should be noted that Paramount+ actually started off as the CBS All Access streaming service, but the merging with ViacomCBS caused a rebrand to Paramount+ in 2021, with little effort to distinguish it from the cable network.

kelly reilly yellowstone
Kevin Costner and Kelly Reilly in Yellowstone.

To make things even more confusing, viewers who want to watch past seasons of Yellowstone have to subscribe to the Peacock streaming service (the NBC streamer), thanks to a streaming deal signed before Paramount+ even existed. That deal, however, does not include the current fifth season.

Over on Facebook, new subscribers to Paramount+ were livid that Yellowstone was nowhere to be found. In the Paramount+ Users Group, a private group where over 22,000 subscribers gather to ask questions and comment on the service, confusion reigned. New subscribers sought out help, especially because the streaming service offered no clarification on the availability of the series.

A screenshot from Facebook

Here’s a primer to break down how to watch the new season of Yellowstone, or catch up with the series if you’re a newcomer.

How To Watch Yellowstone Season Five – You can only watch the new season on Paramount Network, available by cable subscription or streaming service. It is NOT available on Paramount+.

How To Watch Yellow Seasons One Through Four – You can watch previous seasons on the Peacock streaming service. They are also available if they are shown on the Paramount Network’s live cable schedule.