The CBS channel chief claims that Star Trek has reached the target of 4 million advance subscribers –


Thursday, CBS Corporation announced that its profits for the fourth quarter reached $ 4 billion. While this is an all-time record for the company, it is slightly below market expectations, mainly due to lower revenue from licensing and content distribution. In its announcement and follow-up conference call with the investment press, CBS has focused on the positive aspects, particularly with respect to the growth of the company's two subscription services, Showtime and CBS All Access, which hosts Star Trek: Discovery.

All Access reaches 4 million subscribers in advance

CBS announcements revealed that they had reached their target of 8 million combined subscribers for their two streaming services. Originally, the company set this target for 2020. During the teleconference, Joe Ianniello, acting CEO of CBS, said it was only subscribers in the US and that the separation between the two was about 50/50, saying that there was a "healthy competitive race". "In the company between Showtime and All Access. This means that CBS All Access has reached its target of 4 million subscribers, which was announced in 2017 by the former CEO of Les Moonves, who predicts this first Star Trek: Discovery would be the engine to achieve this goal.

Much of the teleconference was intended to promote the success of these services. Inneillo said:

Our two main subscription streaming services are CBS All Access and Showtime. By entering early, we now have clear evidence that these services are working. As they progress, we exceed our expectations as well as the goals we have defined previously for you.

Creating a new key original content for continued growth

CBS has now set a new target of 25 million subscribers (combined) by 2022. And Ianniello explained how they viewed the original content as the main driver, stating:

We hear very clearly that in addition to watching our content on demand and out of the home, our subscribers love our quality content and want more. We therefore make every effort to provide this solution. At All Access, we went from three originals in 2017 to seven in 2018. And here in 2019, we will add four more to reach eleven.

He also highlighted Star Trek's contribution to the list of CBS All Access 2019 projects:

All access we started 2019 significantly with the first season of season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery. Next month The good fight Oscar winner Jordan Peele takes us to a new dimension with the highly anticipated premiere of the film The twilight zone. Later this year we will add a real crime drama called Examination and a black comedy called Why women kill Marc Cherry, creator of Desperate Housewives with Lucy Liu. And We will end 2019 by closing the loop with the launch of a new Star Trek series starring Sir Patrick Stewart in the role of legendary captain Jean Luc Picard..

Ianniello explained that All Access and Showtime were a key part of CBS's future: it was a subtle way to get involved with the streaming media of the media giant's competitors. , Disney, NBC Universal and Warner Brothers:

Our direct services to consumers are our future. Where others are only announcing their ambitions, we are on the right track, ready to take meaningful action.

It is clear from the statements of CBS that they consider that DTH services are vital and that they are ready to devote more and more resources to them, especially in view of the long-term trends associated with the decline revenues from broadcast advertising. The comments above add additional context to why CBS and All Access executives have announced their intention to expand Star Trek offers on All Access with more original content, thereby helping to develop the service and to give subscribers reasons to stay.

All access content could end up on the CBS network (possibly)

One of the topics discussed during the question-and-answer part of the call was whether CBS could consider transferring some of the original CBS All Access content onto its broadcast network. Ianniello revealed that there had been discussions about this, as to how they generally concede their licensed programs for later syndication. He used The good fight, which was the first original show on All Access and therefore probably the first to be considered for this type of distribution, for example, saying:

The big part of intellectual property is that you have a choice. For example, syndication activities have proven extremely useful over the years. This is not a new business, but historically, after three or four years, we have put the programs off the air and broadcast them on cable networks and / or streaming services in order to raise awareness of the issue. broadcast network. When we look at a Nice fight for example and we see a few million people watched The good fight since it's exclusively on All Access, if we were taking the first season The good fight and put it on the CBS broadcast network to bring subscribers back to All Access?

What all this means is that after a few seasons, it's possible that the first season of Discovery could end up being broadcast on CBS. Of course, the first hour of the pilot project was broadcast on CBS as a form of promotion at the first performance of the show in the fall of 2017, but such a thing would be for a full season. It's hard to see the older seasons of Discovery providing enough ratings for CBS's usual prime time, it could become part of the summer program when the network often offers more gender-specific rates.

Netflix Discovery agreement seen as a model for more license revenue

With respect to license revenues, the CBS channel chief again spoke about Star Trek's approach to international agreements, as follows:

We benefit from the lucrative licensing of our content to third parties. Sale Star Trek: Discovery Netflix internationally while distributing it exclusively here in the United States on All Access is emblematic of this strategy and offers exciting opportunities for us in the future.

The world is still waiting to hear how CBS will distribute Picard's next show outside of the United States. While the agreement with Netflix gives the broadcast giant a first glimpse of any spin-off of Discovery, the Picard series is considered as something separate. While it's not surprising that Netflix is ​​still the leading international partner of the upcoming Star Trek show starring Sir Patrick Stewart.

No discussion about the merger

One of the things that CBS officials would not have talked about was the potential merger with Viacom. When asked about this, Ianniello postponed his decision by saying that he was on the board of directors and that his team and he were focused on the management of the company. In any event, industry analysts are still considering the repositioning of CBS and Viacom (parent company of Paramount Pictures) as inevitable and will likely occur in 2019. The CBS / Viacom combination is not considered an end in itself. itself, but rather as one of many potential acquisitions, which could also include mergers or acquisitions with Discovery Networks, Lionsgate and / or Sony Pictures. And it has also been reported that CBS – or CBS merged with some of these other entities – had been recovered by a technology giant looking for content like Amazon, Apple or Verizon.

Ultimately, the two entities that share Star Trek (CBS and Paramount) will potentially undergo further changes within the company over the next few years.

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