CBS All Access is heading overseas, buoyed by the positive buzz surrounding the upcoming release of Star Trek: Discovery.
The sci-fi franchise’s return was intended to be the flagship programme for the launch of the OTT app, helping to bring in subscribers. With the show delayed, CBS turned to The Good Wife spin-off The Good Fight instead. With Star Trek now only weeks away, though, the broadcaster is getting ready to boldly go into international markets.
Variety reports that CBS now intends to expand its streaming reach to Canada and “other international markets” by next year. With All Access and Showtime’s standalone subscription service poised to pass the collective 4 million mark this year, CBS Corp. chief Leslie Moonves told investors this week that the broadcaster is confident about its prospects.
“There is a huge opportunity for CBS to go direct-to-consumer on a much bigger scale worldwide,” he said, projecting that CBS is firmly on the way to its goal of 8 million OTT subscribers by 2020.
“We’re more than halfway to our goal for 2020, which is obviously quite conservative now,” he added.
Indeed, CBS is already planning to launch a OTT sports service, modelled on its CBSN digital news platform.
Content, meanwhile, will continue to underpin the growth of All Access and Showtime, with Twin Peaks’ return proving a huge TV event that will have proven particularly popular with customers looking for a David Lynch fix without a full-on contract.
“We will add content from across our corporate portfolio to make our service more and more attractive,” he said.
Content, though, is also the stumbling block for their international plans: in the UK and worldwide, CBS has already sold the rights to Star Trek: Discovery to Netflix, while More4 snapped up the rights to The Good Fight earlier this year. Sky, on the other hand, has a multi-year exclusive deal with Showtime in place.
Where will CBS All Access launch? Moonves confirmed Canada in the first half of 2018, but other new countries have not been confirmed, although they will be on “multiple continents”. In the UK, though, CBS will need to think carefully about their proposition: AMC’s UK channel, which launched alongside Fear the Walking Dead as a BT TV exclusive, has not been a spectacular hit in the UK, partly because AMC already had a deal in place with Amazon Prime Video for the first-run rights to projects such as Preacher, Into the Badlands, Hap and Leonard and Halt and Catch Fire.
However it pans out, though, there is one thing clear: cutting the cord is certainly striking a note with audiences.