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CBS Considering Offering All Access, Showtime OTT Combo

10 Mar, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Convinced direct-to-consumer is the future, CBS is contemplating offering CBS All Access and Showtime OTT together in a discounted package. Launched in 2014, CBS All Access costs $5.99 monthly offering current and catalog TV shows and select movies. Showtime OTT bowed last year for $10.99 featuring all of the pay-TV channel’s programming. It is also available on Hulu Plus at a discounted $8.99.

Speaking March 8 at the Deutsche Bank 2016 Media, Internet & Telecom Conference in Palm Beach, Fla., CEO Les Moonves said All Access is attracting younger demos who don’t want to pay for channels they never watch. He said that with Showtime reaching about 24 million pay-TV households, nearly 80 million households could be sold on Showtime OTT.

“We think [offering both services in a package] will be very effective. We haven’t pulled out all stops yet. We gave [All Access and Showtime OTT] each [20-second spots] in the Super Bowl to show we’re serious about them. That’s a lot money.”

Indeed, with All Access debuting a new “Star Trek” series next January, a national All Access marketing campaign is planned. Paramount Pictures, which owns the movie rights, will launch Star Trek Beyond July 22. Contractually, CBS can’t air the new “Star Trek” series until six months after Beyond.

“The previous 'Star Trek' TV series we sold to Netflix did extraordinarily well. We felt we had a tiger in the bottle here with the new 'Star Trek,'” Moonves said, adding that three separate original series will also stream on All Access in 2017.

“It’s gotta be special. Something you wouldn’t find on CBS. ‘Star Trek’ was a no-brainer.”

The executive said the rise of over-the-top video has resulted in management being flexible how it windows (syndication, SVOD, All Access, pay-TV) programing in order to maximize each show’s financial potential.

“One size does not fit all for every single program.”

With rival HBO aggressively expanding its brand internationally, Showtime has re-thought existing strategy predicated on selling original programming show-by-show. The pay-TV channel recently inked distribution deals with Bell Canada, Sky in the U.K., and subscription streaming service Stan in Australia.

“We want to sell the Showtime brand. There’s no reason this can’t be a worldwide situation … eventually adding Showtime OTT to these platforms as well,” Moonves said, adding that initial subscriber numbers are very good.

“We’re very pleased with it. We haven’t even marketed it in a big way. We think that’s a big future of Showtime.”

At the same time, Showtime and CBS have largely been on the sidelines in regards to skinny bundle pay-TV packages offered online by Dish Network’s Sling TV, Sony’s PlayStation Vue and Charter’s Spectrum TV Plus, among others.

Moonves says it is inevitable there will be additional skinny bundles offered going forward. He also suggested PlayStation Vue isn’t working and that Sling TV lacks the proper networks, i.e. CBS.

“It’s a good first step. [Skinny bundles are] a great idea whose time has come. People are tired of paying for things they don’t want to watch.”


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