On Thursday, CBS Corporation announced that its fourth-quarter earnings were up to $ 4 billion. Although this is a very high level for the corporation, expectations of the market came slightly below, mainly due to a fall in revenue from content licensing and distribution. In its announcement and follow-up conference with the investment press, CBS focused on the positive, especially with regard to the growth of the two subscription services, Showtime and CBS All Access, home to Star Trek: Discovery ].
All Access hits 4 million subscriber targets early
Announcements from CBS showed that they had reached the goal of 8 million subscribers combined for their two subscription services. Initially, the company had set this target for 2020. During the conference call, CBS, CEO Joe Ianniello, managed to make this only for US subscribers, and that the split between the two is about 50/50, saying that it was a "healthy competitive race" In the company between Showtime and All Access. This means that CBS All Access has reached its goal of 4 million subscribers, something former CEO Les Moonves talked about in 201
Much of the conference call was dedicated to exploiting the successes of these services, including Inneillo, saying:
Our two primary subscription services are CBS All Access and Showtime. By coming early, we now have clear evidence that these services work. As they continue to scale, we exceed our expectations and the goals we've set before you.
Creating new original content key for continued growth
CBS has now set a new target of 25 million subscribers (combined) by 2022. And Ianniello talked about how they see original content as the primary driver and says:
We hears loud and clear that, in addition to looking at our content on demand and outside the home, our subscribers love our premium content and they want more of it. So, our focus is simply on delivering it to them. For All Access we went from three originals in 2017, to seven originals in 2018. And here in 2019 we will add four to get us to eleven.
He also highlighted Star Trek's contribution to the 2019 CBS All Access slate:
All Access we started in 2019 in a big way with season 2 premiere of Star Trek: Discovery . Next Month The Good Fight returns and on April 1, Oscar winner Jordan Peele will take us to another dimension with the much-anticipated premiere of The Twilight Zone . Later this year we add a real criminal drama called Interrogation and a dark comedy called Why women kill from Marc Cherry's creator's desperate Housewives as stars Lucy Liu. And we finish 2019 by getting in full circle with the launch of a new Star Trek series with Sir Patrick Stewart as legendary captain Jean Luc Picard .
In a not so subtle way to point to upcoming streaming services from media giant competitors Disney, NBC Universal and Warner Brothers, Ianniello made it clear that All Access and Showtime were a key component of the future of CBS:
Our Direct To Consumer services are our future. When others just advertise their ambitions, we hit our step, ready to take a significant leap.
It is clear from the statements that come out of CBS that they look directly to consumer streaming services equally important, and they are willing to spend more and more resources on them, especially in the light of long-term trends with reduced broadcasting revenue. The above comments add to the context of why CBS and All Access managers have spoken up their plans to expand Star Trek's All Access offer with more original content, both to expand the service and give subscribers reasons to stay. 19659002] All Access content may end up on CBS Network (finally)
A topic that came up during the Q&A part of the conversation was whether CBS might consider inserting some of the original CBS All Access content on the CBS transmission network. Ianniello revealed that there have been some discussions on this, as to how they usually license their shows for later syndication. He used The Good Fight which was the first original show on All Access, and therefore probably the first to be considered for this type of distribution, as a potential example:
The Great Part About Owning The Intellectual Property is that you have a choice. For example, how the syndication business has proved to be extremely valuable over the years. It is not a new business, but historically we have taken the show net after three or four years and put them on cable networks and / or streaming services to drive the awareness back to the broadcast network. When we look at a Good Fight for example, and we see a few million people have seen The Good Fight given that it only applies to All Access, what if we took the season one of The good fight and put it on the CBS broadcast network to drive subscribers back to All Access?
That means everything is possible after the first season of Discovery Discovery ] may end up sending on CBS. Of course, the first hour of the pilot was shown at CBS as a form of campaign when the show pregeted in the fall of 2017, but something like this would be for a full season. Although it is difficult to see older seasons Discovery delivers enough grades for regular CBS primetime, it may fit into the summer schedule when the network often runs more genre prizes.
Netflix Discovery deal viewed as a model for multiple license revenues
Concerning the subject of license revenue, the CBS boss took up Star Trek as to how they approach international deals and says:  We have benefited from lucrative business licensing our content to third parties. Seller Star Trek: Discovery to Netflix International while streaming exclusively here in the United States on All Access, is symbolic of this strategy and provides interesting opportunities for us to come.
The world is still waiting to hear how CBS will distribute the upcoming Picard show outside the US. While the deal with Netflix gives the streaming giant the first look at some spin-off shows from Discovery the Picard series is considered something separate. Although it would not be surprising if Netflix was still the primary international partner for the upcoming Star Trek show with Sir Patrick Stewart.
No Merger Call
One thing that CBS top messing on the conversation would not talk about was the potential merger with Viacom. When asked, Ianniello was postponed and said it was up to the board, and he and his team were focused on running the company. In any case, industrial analysts still consider a re-merger of CBS and Viacom (Paramount Pictures parent company) as inevitable, and probably happen once in 2019. The CBS / Viacom combination is not considered final, but it is just one of a number of potential deals , which may also include mergers or acquisitions with Discovery Networks, Lionsgate and / or Sony Pictures. And there have also been reports of CBS – or CBS merged with any of these other devices – being posted by a technical giant looking for content such as Amazon, Apple or Verizon.
The bottom line is the two units that share Star Trek (CBS and Paramount) will potentially undergo some more business changes over the next few years.
Keep up with all the CBS and Paramount company news here at TrekMovie.com.