February 15, 2019
For years Hollywood studios and producers put primetime TV shows on DVD to jumpstart consumer interest in a show’s upcoming fall season launch or syndication availability.
Now, CBS is considering bowing past seasons of original over-the-top video programs from the CBS All Access platform on broadcast television to help drive consumer interest in subscription streaming video.
All Access and Showtime OTT, which finished 2018 with more than 8 million combined subscribers, are projected to reach 25 million combined subs by 2022.
Speaking on the Feb. 14 fiscal call, acting CEO Joe Ianniello said the concept has become reality to media companies producing and distributing original content in the digital age.
“The great part of owning the intellectual property is you have [distribution] choices,” Ianniello said.
He said the traditional business model releasing an older TV show into syndication was to monetize catalog programming, increase consumer awareness of the program (if still airing on primetime) and the broadcast network in general.
Specifically, CBS management is considering broadcasting the original season of “The Good Fight,” the CBS All Access exclusive spin-off of “The Good Wife,” which ended its primetime broadcast run in 2016, on primetime.
“What if … we put it on the CBS broadcast network to drive subscribers back to CBS All Access?” said Ianniello, adding that SVOD original programming has to have mass appeal to work on the broadcast network.”
“The promotional platform that the TV network has is bigger than the streaming platform and/or other cable networks,” he said.
Separately, Ianniello said that unlike other media companies pulling original programs from SVOD services such as Netflix, CBS would continue to shop content to the best distribution channel.
As a result, Get Out director Jordan Peele’s reboot of “The Twilight Zone” for All Access in the United States will be distributed by Netflix internationally.
“If a third-party is better able to monetize it than our infrastructure, we should take the excess value we’ve receive and redeploy it into making more content,” Ianniello said.
Regardless, the executive said putting online original programming on broadcast TV could reduce content development costs and make more efficient use of intellectual property and CBS franchise brands.
“We’re discussing it as we speak,” Ianniello said.