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CBS Will Not Binge-Stream New 'Star Trek' Series

4 May, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

CEO Les Moonves open to licensing content to Hulu’s pending online TV service

CBS May 3 confirmed that the new “Star Trek” TV series will begin shooting in Toronto this fall, and stream exclusively on CBS All Access beginning in the first-quarter of 2017. The new series, headed by showrunner Bryan Fuller (“Hannibal”), will stream in weekly installments rather than making the entire season available for binge-viewers. The show’s premiere will also air on CBS.

“It will be episodic … week-by-week,” CEO Les Moonves said, adding other streaming services were after the “Star Trek” TV franchise, which CBS retained with Paramount Pictures holding the movie rights.

“We could have cashed in for a lot of money selling 'Star Trek' to the Netflix, the Amazon, the Hulu. They were all very interested in it,” Moonves said. “But it is important that we show the world … that All Access is a priority for us. There are a lot of very rabid 'Star Trek' fans who are going to sign up for it. We will follow that up with additional original content and we continue to play it that way.”

Meanwhile, the media company believes the CBS All Access subscription streaming service and Showtime OTT platform can generate $800 million in annual revenue over the next five years, COO Joseph Ianniello told analysts.

Launched in 2014, CBS All Access ($5.99) features on-demand access to most current CBS programs, in addition to classic shows. Showtime OTT launched last year for $10.99 featuring the pay-TV channels entire content lineup.

“As we continue to build our subscriber basis, our over-the-top subscription services (CBS All Access and Showtime OTT) will become a bigger part of [the subscription, affiliate and retransmission] revenue stream in the quarters to come,” Ianniello said.

Moonves was asked if he would consider licensing content to Hulu’s rumored online TV service. The executive has been reluctant to license content to Hulu in the past, arguing CBS was not interested helping launch a third-party OTT service co-owned by Disney, Fox and Comcast on the back of its programming.

“As you know, we're not a partner in Hulu, nor do we want to be. But, if they offer us the right pricing for our subs, we will absolutely consider it. It's going to be hard to offer [an online TV service] without having CBS as part of it."

Ianniello said the company has more than 600 episodic programs not yet licensed to SVOD or TV syndication.

“While it's still early, we are on track to meet or exceed that [streaming revenue] goal,” he said.

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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