Just a day after HBO announced it would offer a stand-alone streaming service to non-HBO subscribers, CBS has announced that beginning today, it will offer a stand-alone web subscription service, making it the first broadcast network to do so.
The new “CBS All Access” subscription service will cost subscribers $5.99 a month to stream CBS’s live television programming as well as thousands of its current and past shows on demand (including “Twin Peaks,” which originally aired on ABC but was produced by CBS’s media conglomerate sibling Paramount, which now falls under Viacom) without paying for a cable TV subscription. CBS also said that they plan to offer a similar service from Showtime, the pay cable network owned by CBS, in the near future — presumably an extension of Showtime’s HBO Go equivalent, Showtime Anytime.
“CBS All Access is another key step in the Company’s long-standing strategy of monetizing our local and national content in the ways that viewers want it,” said
The service will offer full seasons of 15 primetime shows the day after they air; past seasons of eight series including “The Good Wife,” “Blue Bloods” and “Survivor”; ad-free access to 5,000+ episodes of “classics” including “Star Trek,” “Cheers,” MacGyver, “Twin Peaks” and “CSI: Miami”; specials including “The Grammy Awards,” “The Academy of Country Music Awards” and “The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” and live feeds of “Big Brother” when it returns next summer.
Given this current news, CBS is looking wise for declining to take an operating position in Hulu, the video-streaming site run by Walt Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast. Now that viewers can get most of their favorite shows via Hulu, CBS All Access and now HBO’s new service, it seems the age of a la carte viewing — when viewers can choose which shows they want to watch and when — may officially be here. That said, sports viewers will still be subscribing to cable for now. The new CBS deal does not include National Football League games.
Not mentioned is The CW, another sister network to CBS with a predominantly millennial audience — the audience most likely to sign up for a service like this, especially if it became the only way to watch their favorite shows online.