By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
Fresh off the success of Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access, the Eye network is ramping up plans to fill their pay streaming service with six to seven more original series programs in the common months. And their plans are to go straight at Netflix in the streaming wars.
“This is an arms race to get there. I don’t know that there will be 30 direct-to-consumer channels that will be out there, but it will likely be an oligopoly at the end of the day, and we want to be one of them,” Ianniello said of the current OTT business.” – Steven Ianniello, CBS COO
Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Media & Telecom Conference in Palm Beach, Florida, CBS COO Steven Ianniello laid out his plans for CBS All Access to increase investment in original series, and to go after Netflix dominance in the streaming media category. “We’re doubling down there. You’re going to see six to seven originals on CBS All Access in the next 12 months,” Ianniello said.
With a price of $5.99 with ads and $9.99 without, the service offers mostly video on demand of CBS’ television catalog, along with original series that includes Discovery and the procedural drama The Good Fight (a spin off of CBS hit show The Good Wife). But if you’re going to go after the 800 lb. gorilla in the room, you have to have much more than that to do it. On top of that, the streaming media field is growing a bit crowded with Amazon Prime, Hulu TV, Disney’s upcoming three planned streaming networks, the list just keeps growing.
“We obviously watch Netflix and we see what they can do and say — what percentage of Netflix can we be, based on the content we have?” Ianniello told the investors conference.
Sure, CBS enjoys an almost guaranteed audience of Trek fans who would pay to watch William Shatner read a telephone book, but if you want to grow beyond that and compete in the streaming media arms race, you need more. Lets face it, at that price, you need a lot more. And it seems like Ianniello is planning that with a slate of up to seven new original series within the next 12 months, including a rumored reboot of the classic CBS series The Twilight Zone which is being developed by Oscar winning screenwriter Jordan Peele. Other originals planned include Tell Me a Story, an anthology series by Kevin Williamson, Strange Angel, and the sitcom No Activity.
What’s interesting is, that if taking on Netflix is their plan, they’re going at it in a strange way, considering Star Trek: Discovery can be seen on Netflix as well, now that season 1 has ended. But that may just be to let the rest of the world know the kind of programming that All Access will be providing. Iannello has’t said whether The Twilight Zone will follow suit.
Of course, CBS was always going to expand their pay streaming service, and it’ll be interesting to see what originals they come out with beyond those announced. I’m a tad concerned about rebooting the Twilight Zone though. Not because of Peele, his screenwriting Oscar for Get Out clearly shows he can give us that kind of eerie horror that made Zone the series it was. But it is an iconic TV property, and fans may not take well to toying with such an iconic property from their youth. It’ll be interesting.
Hat Tip – THR