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Moonves: CBS to Launch Showtime OTT Service in 2015

5 Nov, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Premium content channel would follow in the footsteps of HBO’s previously-announced OTT service

CBS will launch an over-the-top video service for its Showtime premium channel in 2015, CEO Les Moonves revealed during the media company’s Nov. 5 third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) fiscal call.

CBS also confirmed it will launch an ad-supported OTT video edition of CBS News, beginning Nov. 6. The media company last month launched “CBS All Access,” which enables non-pay-TV subscribers to watch next-day primetime programing and catalog content on-demand for $5.99 monthly.

“There’s many millions of people out there on college campuses, the cord-cutters, the cord-nevers … and we expect to reach those people,” Moonves said.

With HBO in October announcing plans to launch a standalone OTT video service in 2015, Moonves said it was certain that a similar service for Showtime would occur next year.

“We can say fairly definitively sometime in 2015 there will some [OTT] service from Showtime,” Moonves said.

Media experts say there are about 10 million broadband-only households without pay-TV access in the United States — a market segment media companies want to target via OTT video.

CFO Joe Ianniello cautioned that any Showtime OTT service would be created in tandem with the premium channel’s current pay-TV distributors. He said the fact there are 10 million broadband homes without Showtime is “doing a disservice” to those consumers.

At the same time, the CFO said Showtime programming, which includes “Homeland,” “The Big C,” “The Borgias,” “Web Therapy,” “Shameless,” “Ray Donovan” and “Penny Dreadful,” among others, has been judiciously licensed to SVOD services so as not to dilute any future standalone OTT offering. Indeed, CBS waited until “Dexter” and “Californication” had concluded their Showtime runs before licensing them to Netflix.

“That’s been the current rule of thumb. That’s where we have drawn the line to date. [But] we have to find creative and innovative ways to continue to have our content where the consumers are, so we’re going to work with our [MVPD] partners to do that,” Ianniello said.


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