CBS and Showtime OTT Services Top 2 Million Subscribers

Moonves Says OTT Services Are 'Way Ahead' of Where He Expected at This Point

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CBS plans to carry its new 'Star Trek' series starting next year exclusively on its streaming service.
CBS plans to carry its new 'Star Trek' series starting next year exclusively on its streaming service. Credit: CBS Television Studios

CBS has finally revealed how many people subscribe to its direct-to-consumer platforms.

CBS All Access and Showtime's OTT product have over 2 million subscribers combined, split almost evenly between the two, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said during the company's second-quarter earnings call. He noted that this is "way ahead" of where he expected the two services would be at this point.

These 2 million subscribers only include paying users, not those taking advantage of a free trial, a CBS spokeswoman confirmed via email.

CBS had previously said it plans to have 8 million subscribers for CBS All Access and Showtime's OTT service by 2020, representing $800 million in new revenue.

"… We are confident that this will be easily achieved," Mr. Moonves said.

CBS All Access is gaining momentum as it prepares for the debut of the new "Star Trek" series in 2017, as well as a "The Good Wife" spinoff.

At Showtime, the company is growing subscribers by staggering the launch dates of original series. There's also the return of "Twin Peaks" in 2017, which Mr. Moonves expects will help attract new subscribers.

On the advertising front, Mr. Moonves said that after the strongest upfront in many years, he expects strength in advertising to continue through the second-half of the year.

CBS secured double-digit increases in the cost to reach a 1,000 viewers, an industry standard known as CPMs. The broadcaster sold about 70% of its inventory, holding some inventory back for scatter because Mr. Moonves expects scatter marketplace to be strong.

"Marketers realized what we've been saying for a long time, that digital buys are more powerful when they complement television buys, not when they replace them," he said.

Mr. Moonves also noted strength in late-night during the upfronts, with price increases that superseded that of primetime.

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