When CBS launched subscription streaming services CBS All Access ($5.99) and Showtime OTT ($10.99), it projected 16 million standalone subscribers by 2022.
Now that tally has been reached through the third quarter of the current fiscal year, ended Sept. 30 — via some creative accounting.
Speaking on the Nov. 12 fiscal call, acting CEO Joe Ianniello was asked about the the 4% uptick in combined services’ subscriber counts and how that related to company SVOD projections.
Ianniello, who is reportedly set to receive a $100 million severance following consummation of the Viacom/CBS merger while reporting to new corporate CEO Bob Bakish as CEO of CBS, said he calculated the 4% increase by combining traditional pay-TV subs accessing Showtime and All Access as well as standalone direct-to-consumer and online TV subs streaming programming through third-party platforms such as Sling TV and AT&T TV Now.
“We think [the overal sub count] is important because there is a lot of headwind in the traditional [pay-TV] business and our point is, when you factor all of that in, we are [actually] growing subs,” he said. “And so, because obviously, the direct-to-consumer will be growing, but if you are losing [subs] in a traditional business, it’s offsetting.
“So, that’s why we thought that [16 million] statistic was meaningful … that consumers are seeking out our content on other platforms, which bodes well for our future.”
In addtion to live sports programming through local affiliates, All Access will begin streaming UEFA Champions League soccer, including UEFA Europa League and newly created UEFA European Conference League, which begins annual play in 2021 featuring eligible European football clubs.
“Soccer fans know these rights represent some of the most prestigious and popular soccer tournaments in the world that we couldn’t be more pleased that we won this hotly contested process,” Ianniello said. “We are currently finalizing contracts for this multi-year deal and we will be releasing more details in the coming weeks.”