CBS throws shade at premium rivals and thanks AT&T for the “free marketing”

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CBS All Access is ramping up its original content and plans to offer at least 12 original series by next year in addition to expanding into sports, movies, documentaries, and series acquisitions and and overhauling its mobile and tablet apps by end of summer.

At a Television Critics Association event last week, CBS Interactive President and COO Mark DeBevoise said that CBS doesn’t fear new streaming war entrants such as Disney, NBCUniversal, HBO and others.

DeBevoise believes there’s room for more players, given that consumers subscribe to 3.4 SVOD services on average, however 80% currently only have one service. He also touted the strength of All Access’12,000-plus titles, compared to the 8,000 titles and 3,000 episodes from Starz and HBO respectively.

CBS also owns Showtime and both direct-to-consumer services have a combined 8 million subscribers. Network executives said they’ve set a target of 25 million DTC subscribers in the United States across All Access and Showtime by 2020.

CBS’s still in a contract dispute with AT&T, and while its channels have been blacked out across DirecTV, AT&T TV Now, and U-Verse. In markets where CBS and its channels are blacked out, AT&T is directing its customers to the All Access service. As a result, CBS All Access is seeing more direct-to-consumer subscribers.

DeBevoise even joked at the TCA presentation about CBS’s appreciation for the free marketing.

In the meantime, CBS and Viacom have reached a “working” agreement should the companies complete their long-awaited merger, which they probably will. (Here’s why it makes sense and what happens next.)

Both companies are scheduled to report quarterly earnings this Thursday, August 8th, and the boards have circled the date on when a deal can be formalized. At this point, no formal offer has been made by CBS.

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