Anyone who raced to sign up for Paramount+ to watch CBS’ Oprah With Meghan and Harry interview special at their leisure was dealt a royal bummer.
As evidenced by an easy Twitter search of “paramount plus oprah,” scores of people were shocked and frustrated to discover that the hottest topic in pop culture on Sunday night was not available to stream before or after it aired in their market. Instead, the only options were to watch it on the recently launched Paramount+ (fka CBS All Access) in real time via their local CBS station, or to stream it On Demand using the CBS.com app.
Search “Oprah” on the Paramount+ app, and you get nada. Ditto “Prince Harry” and the special’s full title. Searching “Meghan Markle” on Paramount+, meanwhile, only surfaces a Smithsonian Channel special from 2018.
Why would ViacomCBS not use the well-promoted and highly buzzy interview special to drive people to Paramount+, to watch it from the West Coast at the same time as frantically tweeting East Coasters, or to cue it up on Monday morning?
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Or, as some suggested, why not close out the primetime Sunday special by promising that additional clips could be found the next morning on the shiny new Paramount+ app (instead of via CBS This Morning)?
Simply said, it was out of Paramount+’s hands. Insiders confirm for TVLine that although Oprah With Meghan and Harry was available to Paramount+ subscribers to stream live through their local CBS station on service, an SVOD (Streaming Video On Demand) component was not a part of the agreement with Winfrey’s Harpo Productions, which produced the exclusive sit-down. As a result, the full-length Q&A is only available to stream on demand for free using CBS.com and the CBS app.
In linear-TV viewing alone, Oprah With Meghan and Harry delivered a sizeable audience, averaging north of 17 million viewers — triple what the Golden Globes did a week prior, and marking the largest primetime audience for any entertainment special in over a year (since the Academy Awards on Feb. 9, 2020) — along with a robust 2.6 demo rating, per preliminary Nielsen numbers.