Not to be outdone by HBO and their theoretical cable-free content platform, CBS has announced a new subscription service that lets users watch the network's programming both live and on-demand.
It's called CBS All Access, and it's launching today on desktop, iOS, and Android. For $5.99 a month, users can watch full current seasons of 15 primetime shows (with new episodes appearing the day after air), as well as full past seasons of eight series. CBS All Access also offers full season of 'classic' shows like Star Trek, Twin Peaks, and Cheers. The list can be found here.
More interesting than this aspect, possibly, is the fact that CBS All Access will allow users to livestream their local CBS channels on their devices. It is currently market-dependent right now, however, and limited to New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. CBS says more markets are coming soon.
“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 Leslie Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corporation. “This new subscription service will deliver the most of CBS to our biggest fans while being additive to the overall ecosystem. Across the board, we continue to capitalize on technological advances that help consumers engage with our world-class programming, and we look forward to serving our viewers in this new and exciting way.”
The livestreaming will cover some sports programs (the ones CBS has rights to) like The Masters and SEC sports – but the glaring omission here is the NFL. You will not be able to watch NFL football via CBS All Access. At least not yet. The New York Times reports that talks are at least underway.
CBS is the first major network to cut the cord, so to speak, and allow people to stream its content online without a cable subscription – but unlikely to be the last. Though Fox, ABC, and NBC all have Hulu to distribute their content for a subscription fee, it wouldn't be surprising to see those other major networks launch their own cable-free internet service and reap all the benefits for themselves.
Image via CBS All Access