CBS All Access has been growing steadily since it launched in 2014 but not in astronomical ways. A report in late 2017 showed that CBS All Access and Showtime’s ott offering have garnered over 4 million subscribers overall. This means that CBS is not releasing individual CBS All Access subscriber numbers. Announcing numbers this way makes it look like CBS is hiding slow growth.
CBS All Access currently offers full access to current and past CBS programming in a Hulu styled approach. The service is billed monthly at 5.99 with commercials and $9.99 without commercials. The service also offers five exclusive originals highlighted by Star Trek Discover and The Good Fight, a spinoff of The Good Wife. Other than that on-demand offerings include past CBS Hits like Frasier, Family Ties, The original Hawaii Five-0. See full offering here.
CBS All Access’s biggest selling point might be its most inconsistently available one, live streaming. CBS regularly leverages big live events as a reason for customers to sign up. But the truth is that access to live TV is not universal. To find out if one can get live TV through the app individuals must go to the CBS Website and check.
So as currently constituted CBS All Access has some strong points like the very popular Star Trek Discovery. But it is missing some needed programming depth. That is where the Viacom merger could loom large. The companies, which used to be under the same umbrella are discussing a family reunion. And if such a reunion occurs it could open the service to a boatload of content.
Viacom has found it tougher to sell its brands to cable providers and OTT companies of late. This includes ending a long-standing relationship with Hulu. Hulu has the rights to some Viacom content like every episode of South Park, but the once robust offering is no longer available. This leaves CBS All Access wide open to be the soft landing place for the content. Viacom has some big names in the cable business including Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and BET. Recently Viacom rebranded the Spike TV as the Paramount Network. If CBS All Access were to add current content from the Viacom properties and the Paramount movie library, the service could begin to be seen as a legitimate challenger to Hulu.
Will CBS merge with Viacom? It certainly looks like the two parties are deep into discussions. We will continue to monitor this story.