No SVOD Partner Revealed Yet for CBS Sci-Fi Series With Halle Berry20 Nov, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel
2014 summer replacement series, ‘Extant,’ aims to emulate this summer’s ‘Under the Dome,’ which included exclusive Amazon Prime Instant Video streaming deal
CBS Corp. has yet to name a subscription video-on-demand partner for its 2014 Sci-Fi summer replacement TV series, “Extant,” starring Halle Berry.
Berry stars as an astronaut attempting reconnect with her family after year in space. Pierce Gagnon (Looper) plays Berry’s son.
Speaking recently at the Guggenheim Symposium Event in New York, CEO Les Moonves said the blueprint from this past summer’s successful “Under the Dome” series, which included for the first time licensing episodes exclusively to Amazon Prime Instant Video four days after initial broadcast, would be replicated next year with ‘Extant.” The CEO made no mention which SVOD service CBS will partner with.
CBS and Amazon Prime are already committed to a second season of “Dome,” which was the highest-rated network summer premiere since 1992. Moonves said the combination of international pre-selling of “Dome,” which is based on Stephen King’s eponymous novel, and securing $700,000 per episode from Amazon, meant the series was profitable before it even aired on TV.
When initial summer ratings for “Dome” broke records, CBS had a financial windfall on its hands.
“The [summer] ratings ended up being as high as September, October and November ratings,” Moonves said. “In essence, we have created a whole new date park in the summer — a whole new avenue for content we are going to own and be able to resell forever.”
Moonves said that at CBS, a so-called “content monetization group” meets monthly to discuss securing ancillary revenue streams for content that doesn’t cannibalize existing revenues.
“We don’t want to do something that will hurt our advertising and hurt our syndication or retransmissions streams,” Moonves said. “If there’s an opening for our content, we’ll be there.”
Indeed, CBS is attempting to transition away from an ad-supported business model that a few years ago represented 70% of its revenue, and in the most-recent quarter was about 50/50.
“Advertising remains very important and it’s important to us to continue to be the top-rated network on TV, and continue to get those advertising dollars, but we are a lot less cyclical. Right now we feel a lot more balanced,” Moonves said. “We’ve focused on being a content company and getting paid for that content. Our interactive group is making money.”