You know I can only be talking about Star Trek, unless you’ve been in a cave for the last fifty years. CBS announced today a new Star Trek TV Series, but with a twist in distribution. The first episode will air on the traditional CBS network, but all subsequent episodes will only be available on CBS’ All Access SVOD service.
SVOD is a growing phenomenon, currently with about half of all homes subscribing to one service or another. The main players are Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. HBO just hit 5% of homes. CBS currently leads the next tier of providers, each with less than 2% of users.
CBS is looking to jumpstart their paid subs with this move, but is one program—albeit a series with a huge cult following—enough? Time will tell.
The more important aspect of what’s going on here is testing the viability of a new distribution system and a new revenue model. Netflix and Amazon have used original series to accelerate their uptake, but it’s more of a value-add for a new subscriber to their tremendous archive of movies and TV shows. HBO, already a paid service is growing—as pointed out above. Younger consumers are cutting cords, not spending their time with the same traditional media their predecessor generations used. The fact of the matter is CBS has to be successful with this move. They have no choice. Today’s announcement should quickly be followed by more of the same. Their future depends on it.