CBS All Access Adding Children’s Programming

CBS All Access, the media giant’s online TV service and VOD platform, Aug. 8 disclosed it plans for the first time to add children’s programming, including original series and more than 1,000 catalog episodes.

The $5.99 monthly platform has teamed up with DHX Media and Boat Rocker Studios to license new seasons of “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” produced with Sony Pictures Animation, and Boat Rocker’s “Danger Mouse,” produced with BBC Children’s Productions.

Catalog programming includes the original “Danger Mouse” series, “Inspector Gadget,” “The Adventures of Paddington Bear, “Madeline,” and “Heathcliff,” among others.

“Based on the age and demographics of our subscriber base, with an average age of 44, we see a significant opportunity to invest in children’s programming and provide even more value for subscribers,” Marc DeBevoise, COO, CBS Interactive, said in a statement.

Earlier this year, CBS All Access announced it would add documentary and unscripted content, in addition to a growing roster of flagship series such as “Star Trek: Discovery,” “The Good Fight,” and “The Twilight Zone.”

Joe Ianniello, acting CEO at parent CBS Corp., said the direct-to-consumer services, which includes Showtime OTT, helped fuel a 13% increase in affiliate and subscription fee revenue in the quarter.

“We remain on track to reach our goal of 25 million subscribers [CBS All Access/Showtime] combined by 2022,” he said in a statement.

Indeed, content licensing and distribution revenue in the quarter increased 18%, mainly from growth in domestic licensing and higher sales of series produced for third-party services, including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Affiliate and subscription fee revenue grew 22%, driven by increases in station affiliation fees and revenues from online TV, as well as subscriber growth at CBS All Access.

Joseph Ianniello Acting CEO at CBS Following Moonves Exit, Settlement with National Amusements

Joseph Ianniello, current COO at CBS Corp., is now acting CEO following the Sept. 9 departure of beleaguered boss Les Moonves in the aftermath of additional accusations of inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Moonves had been the head of CBS for 24 years.

Ianniello, who joined CBS in 2005, has been COO since June 2013. The chairman position will remain open pending the appointment of a permanent CEO.

Moonves and CBS will donate $20 million to one or more organizations that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace. The donation, which will be made immediately, has been deducted from any severance benefits that may be due Moonves following the board of directors’ ongoing independent investigation.

Moonves will not receive any severance benefits (rumored to be around $120 million) at this time (other than certain fully accrued and vested compensation and benefits); any payments to be made in the future will depend upon the results of the independent investigation and subsequent board evaluation.

Moonves’ high-profile exit was in part triggered by a follow-up story in The New Yorker by Ronan Farrow that detailed additional accusations from six women alleging sexual misconduct by Moonves over a 20-year period.

In a statement late Sunday night, Moonves said “untrue allegations from decades ago” are not consistent with “who I am.” Moonves said he was “deeply saddened” to be leaving the company and wished nothing but the best for the organization.

CBS also announced a settlement with corporate parent National Amusements (and Viacom), which includes dismissing their pending litigation and previous corporate bylaw amendments.

In addition, five current independent directors and one National Amusements-affiliated director have stepped down from the board, and six new independent directors have been elected. The new board will be comprised of 11 independent directors and 2 NAI-affiliated directors.

CBS COO: We ‘Cannibalize Up’ Cord Cutters

In an era of cord cutting and fragmentation of home entertainment and television distribution, CBS says its total viewership data has grown.

Speaking March 6 at The Deutsche Bank 2018 media, telecom & business services confab in Palm Beach, Fla., COO Joesph Ianniello said combining traditional pay-TV subscribers with online TV and direct-to-consumer has resulted in more total subs for CBS than a year ago.

“Not a lot of media companies can say that,” Ianniello said, adding CBS is available on the “broadest tier” of distribution channels.

With more than 5 million combined subs for its over-the-top video platforms (Showtime OTT, CBS All Access), the COO contends the services have “really taken off,” in addition to enabling CBS to sell content to new distribution channels at a significantly higher price than traditional MVPDs.

“So, the value proposition we think we’re bringing to [pay-TV] distributors is compelling,” Ianniello said.

Indeed, with increasing numbers of consumers shunning pay-TV for alternative channels, Ianniello says CBS is able to “cannibalize up” those consumers in the same way Internet Service Providers increase revenue by hiking up broadband access fees.

“If a consumer switches to YouTube TV or CBS All Access, each leg [or service] we get more money the way we’ve priced it,” he said.

Ianniello said the learning curve on OTT has been significant, contending premium channel Showtime never had a real subscriber until bowing an OTT platform.

Specifically, the executive said Showtime’s pay-TV distributor, in addition to third-party broadcast ratings tracking services such as Nielsen had all the consumer data.

“Now, [via OTT] we have perfect information in terms of consumption, what [subs] watch [and] how they watch,” he said. “It makes us smarter in our programing and [makes] advertising much more effective.”

CBS All Access, which costs $5.99 monthly with limited ads; $9.99 without, will launch upwards of seven original series in 2018, including a new season of “Star Trek: Discovery” and pending reboot of “The Twilight Zone” from Oscar-winner Jordan Peele (Get Out) – in addition to select live TV, NFL game telecasts and catalog programing.

“Netflix doesn’t do live,” Ianniello said. “Netflix doesn’t have the library we have. From a value perception, we’re feeling pretty good.”