CBS Starts Offering Its Signal Over the Web as Over-the-Top Gates Open
Just a day after HBO said it will introduce a direct-to-consumer streaming platform, CBS introduced its own digital service that will let viewers watch much of the network's programming without a pay-TV subscription.
"CBS All Access" will deliver full seasons of most current prime-time shows, daytime and late night programming, as well as a library of older content, to subscribers whether or not they get cable or satellite TV. The episodes of current shows are available the day after they air.
There will be constraints and nuances to what's available to whom.
CBS's NFL games, for example, will not be included at all.
The service will include live streaming of local CBS TV stations in 14 of the largest markets, with more to come, CBS said. Viewers in those will be able to stream any programming live, just like turning on their TVs.
Outside those markets, prime-time shows will be available to "All Access" subscribers the day after they air. New episodes of prime-time shows currently aren't available on CBS' full-episode streaming app to non-"All Access" subscribers until eight days after the episode airs.
Entire catalogs of prior episodes and back seasons will be available for eight CBS series, including "The Good Wife," "Blue Bloods" and "Survivor." Ad loads in prior seasons of those shows will have 25% less ad time than when they aired.
Older shows, called CBS Classics, will be available ad-free, the company said.
The service will cost $5.99 per month and is available starting today on CBS.com and on mobile devices through the CBS app for Apple's iOS and Android. It will be available on other devices in the coming months.
"CBS All Access" is designed to appeal to two types of consumers, the "super fan" and "cord-nevers" said Marc DeBevoise, exec VP-entertainment, sports and news, CBS Interactive.
For the super fan, the platform will be complimentary to their pay-TV subscription, allowing them to get more content and next-day access from CBS, he said. "This isn't an 'or' product," Mr. DeBevoise said.
For those that are not pay-TV subscribers, it is an opportunity to bring in new CBS watchers, he said, but added that he doesn't believe it will prevent people from signing up for cable.
In a statement, the company said the service is another way for CBS to make money on the programming it already produces or carries.
"CBS All Access is another key step in the company's long-standing strategy of monetizing our local and national content in the ways that viewers want it," said Leslie Moonves, president and CEO, CBS.
On Wednesday, HBO announced it will introduce a stand-alone subscription service that allows non-pay-TV subscribers to purchase the network. The platform will launch next year.
Mr. Moonves has previously hinted that the company may consider selling Showtime directly to consumers, bypassing pay-TV providers, while ESPN recently laid the groundwork for a web-based service that would stream live NBA games even to non-cable, non-satellite subscribers.