CBS All Access Exec On Doing SVOD Service With Ads, Original Strategy – TCA

CBS All Access, CBS’ SVOD and live-streaming streaming service, is entering the original programming space with two high-profile new scripted series that have recognizable titles, the Star Trek reboot Star Trek: Discovery and a Good Wife spinoff, set to premiere early next year, as well as a digital edition of Big Brother this fall. But unlike its streaming competitors like Netflix or Amazon, CBS All Access charges a monthly fee, $6, and also runs commercials on everything but classic shows from the CBS library. That applies to current and past seasons of the series that are still on the air as well as to all CBS All Access’ original series. The commercial load will be slightly lower (-25%) than that on-air, or about 12 minutes for an hourlong episode. (Live-streamed CBS programming airs with a full commercial load.)

Why would people want to subscribe while still being subjected to watching commercials? “The value, depth and breadth of content consumers can’t get anywhere else,” said Marc DeBevoise, the president and COO of CBS Interactive. He did add that “we’re toying with a commercial free option.”

DeBevoise confirmed that the plan is to launch three new original series in 2017, with one additional show joining Star Trek: Discovery, which premieres in January, and the Good Wife spinoff, which debuts in the spring, later in the year. While both series come from sibling CBS TV Studios, he said they are open to working with outside suppliers. 

The plan is for the service’s original scripted series to air between 10-13 episodes in a season; the Good Wife spinoff will be 10 episodes, Star Trek – 13 episodes.

While CBS All Access’ first two scripted series continue existing series franchises, DeBevoise noted that there no plans for the platform to revive cancelled cult series like Jericho but to focus on big original concepts.

(Anthony D’Alessandro contributed to this report.)

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