CBS Is Releasing 3 New Premium Series for Its Internet TV Service

-Takes Aim at Netflix, Hulu & Amazon

-Is This the Tipping Point for Traditional TV?

Over the air national broadcaster CBS is releasing three new premium scripted series on its Internet TV service CBS All Access. It’s an important indication that we’re in the midst of a major transition to Internet TV.

CBS is releasing three new TV series that will never air on traditional TV. That’s a milestone for an antenna TV network in the US. While other broadcasters and pay TV networks have released digital content exclusively on their respective Internet platforms, these efforts have been largely focused on offering snackable short form video that complements traditional TV programming. Despite conventional wisdom, this strategy hasn’t exactly paid off for those networks, as evinced by continued ratings declines across the board. The big four in the OTT world – Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and YouTube – have taken the opposite approach, investing in long form TV-like content that viewers can access whenever and wherever they want, and that strategy has paid off big time for those companies.

This is, in fact, an important distinction. While most of the traditional TV world has been desperately trying to preserve the linear TV model, CBS has wisely taken notes from its competitors, not its cohorts. It was the first broadcaster to embrace the direct-to-consumer OTT model by launching CBS All Access and Showtime as standalone subscription OTT services. Each of those services now have about a million subscribers – more than the beloved HBO Now SVoD service. Last week, CBS said it’ll begin offering an ad-free version of its subscription service, seeing that consumers really, really don’t like paying subscriptions for ads on an OTT service.

Now, the company is bulking up on exclusive, original programming for its OTT service – and importantly, it’s offering TV-like content, not the short-form digital drivel and hordes TV clips that other networks have begun churning out on Web platforms.

There are three new TV shows that’ll appear on the OTT service:

  1.  “Star Trek: Discovery,” the latest installment of the popular franchise that has a diverse and dedicated fan following.
  2.   A spin-off of the popular TV series “The Good Wife,” yet unnamed, starring two supporting characters from the original show.
  3.  “Big Brother: Over the Top”, a spin-off series from the storied “Big Brother” series that will feature live camera feeds from the Big Brother house.

These new shows will join the 8,500-plus episode library of current series and older shows available on All Access, alongside live streams of CBS broadcast stations, available now in nearly all markets in the US.

CBS is targeting the younger demographics to its OTT service that it has lost access to on linear TV platforms, which will be instrumental to future success for the broadcaster. CBS’s linear TV network audience has a median age of 59; while 65% of its OTT subs are 18-49.

The world can be divided into two groups: those that still watch linear TV, and those that do not. The recognition that these two groups differ substantially in viewing habits is just now gaining steam among traditional broadcasters. CBS, along with a few other forward-thinking TV networks, is now able to reach both camps effectively by embracing Internet delivery of programming, rather than trying to strong arm the younger viewers into watching linear TV. And the best way for CBS to grow its OTT subscriber base is through more premium original programming that’s available only on CBS All Access, just as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and YouTube have been working towards.

Feature image courtesy CBS.