As Streaming Wars Escalate, CBS May Not Need to Beat Netflix — Just HBO

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CBS’ Joe Ianniello says growth is “especially strong” for his OTT services.

The broadcaster shows growth by doubling down on direct-to-consumer bets and pushing for overseas and younger audiences. “The goal isn’t to be number one,” analyst Paul Verna notes.

Star Trek Discovery was an international sensation,” CBS chief content officer David Nevins told Wall Street analysts Nov. 1, promising more iterations of the franchise. But viewers won’t see them on the nation’s top broadcast network. The shows are all set for CBS All Access, the net’s $5.99-a-month streaming service.

Season two of Discovery launches Jan. 17, followed by a new series with Patrick Stewart as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard and, after that, Lower Decks, an animated version for adults. “All Access will continue to be home to all things Star Trek,” Nevins said. “We expect to have more Star Trekannouncements coming shortly.”

That the popular franchise will grow exclusively on All Access — which is aiming to compete with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and new services to come from Disney and WarnerMedia — is a testament to how important the effort is to CBS. Joe Ianniello, hosting his first earnings call since his promotion to interim CEO, gave digital initiatives much of the credit for CBS posting its best third quarter in history in terms of revenue and earnings per share.

“Our sub growth is especially strong where we get the highest rates, on our direct-to-consumer streaming services, CBS All Access and Showtime OTT,” Ianniello said. He then reiterated that the goal of 8 million subscribers between the two will be reached in 2019, one year ahead of schedule, and it’s full steam ahead in foreign markets.

All Access Canada is “off to a solid start,” he said, while in the fourth quarter CBS will be launching Network 10, its streaming product in Australia. “We will continue to expand into new territories in 2019, and we are confident that digital distribution on a global scale will be very lucrative for CBS,” he said.



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