Weekly E-Newsletter

CBS All Access Chiefs Give Update On Subscriber Figures, Viacom Programming Plans & Broad Content Strategy – TCA

The broadcaster revealed the new subscriber figures as part of a general update on the digital service during Marc DeBevoise and Julie McNamara’s executive session at the TCA winter press tour.

The pair also discussed the company’s plans to move some Viacom content to the service following its merger with CBS and discussed original programming plans, including a hint at a potential move towards game shows.

DeBevoise, Chief Digital Officer, ViacomCBS, and President and CEO, CBS Interactive, said the company has continued on its “incredible growth path” and that it is still on target to reach 25 million subscribers to CBS All Access and Showtime by 2022. He also added that it had seen around 80% growth in terms of overall streams and said he was happy with its position in the market following the launch of rival services such as Apple TV+ and Disney+.

“There’s been a lot of talk about what the new entrants to the streaming space would mean to the overall marketplace,” he said. “We have always looked at the so-called streaming wars as anything but a zero-sum game and consumer behavior has continued to prove that.”

Source: Yahoo Entertainment

The Take
Collectively, ViacomCBS’ All Access and Showtime OTT have reached 10 million subscribers, which is up from the previous update of 8 million, broken out as follows:

  • CBS All Access: 3.8m subs
  • Showtime OTT: 4.2m subs

“We’re in a great position to hit our goals of 25 million subscribers by 2022,” ViacomCBS chief digital officer and CBS Interactive CEO Marc DeBevoise said on Sunday, noting that subscribers have been growing 60% year over year.

Though we’ll never know how much, it’s safe to presume AT&T helped fuel those numbers.

Back in July 2019, CBS found itself in a near three-week contract dispute with AT&T, which saw CBS-owned channels blacked out across DirecTV, AT&T TV Now, and U-Verse. In blacked-out markets, AT&T directed its customers to sign up for All Access.

“You may be able to stream CBS through the Locast app on your TV.”…”You can also watch some CBS programming on cbs.com or with a subscription to the CBS All Access App.”

DeBevoise even joked about it at a previous TCA event and thanked AT&T for the free marketing.

And it’s not just all customer acquisition, subscriber churn is in the single digits, similar to that of other premium streaming services according to DeBevoise.

He commented, “We’ve decreased churn each year since starting the service, so we feel really good about the trend line.”

Only time would tell how Viacom and CBS would combine its video products once the merger was finalized. A month later, we’re seeing a strategy start to take shape. To compete with Netflix, who spent about $15 billion on content in 2019, it only makes sense that ViacomCBS would combine assets to make a bigger, badder All Access.

May we suggest Nickelodeon or BET?

Marc DeBevoise thinks there’s room for more players, but he knows that content is king,  which is why he’s previously touted the strength of All Access’12,000-plus titles, compared to the 8,000 titles and 3,000 episodes from Starz and HBO respectively.

ViacomCBS boasts an existing library of 3,600 film titles and 140,000 TV episodes. CBS All Access had already planned on ramping up its content slate by offering at least 12 original series by this year in addition to expanding into sports, movies, documentaries, and series acquisitions. We can now add game shows to that list. All Access will launch a show every month with a tentpole series each quarter.

The most anticipated series this year is Star Trek: Picard, which will get big promotion that will escalate between the AFC Championship Game and the Grammys. The show will start on January 23rd.


Quibi Unveils First Look At “Turnstyle” Content, Katzenberg And Whitman Look To “Make Mobile Moments Extraordinary”

Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman took the stage Wednesday morning at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas at the Park MGM theater to give a look at the much-buzzed-about mobile streaming short-form platform. This was the first time that Quibi has shown their innovative platform to an audience — and the audience at CES was into it.

The panel started with a video that showed the evolution of entertainment consumption before including glimpses of some of the platform’s A-list creators including Guillermo del Toro, Steven Spielberg, Antoine Fuqua, Peter Farrelly, Catherine Hardwicke and Reese Witherspoon. The video was really selling us on the innovation of Quibi and how “the future is in our hands” — literally.

Katzenberg took the stage to talk about how Quibi is essentially a platform for Hollywood-caliber “stories optimized for viewing on the go.” He said he was inspired by Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and how each chapter was four to five pages long and how it was perfect bite-sized chunks to tell a bigger story. He also referenced how TV writers have been doing this sort of storytelling for decades, writing series with act breaks and keeping audiences engaged — and he applied all of this to Quibi.

At the end of it all, Katzenberg said that they are looking to have 175 original shows as well as 8,500 quick bites of content including comedies, dramas, news and reality series in three tiers of content including features, episodic and “Daily Essentials.”

Whitman added, “Quibi will inform, entertain and inspire.”

What we learned
Quibi, WarnerMedia, and NBCU all took the center stage at CES last week. WarnerMedia spoke about its “swipey” interface and there wasn’t much Peacock talk as NBCU looks to save that for its investor meeting this Thursday.

Quibi gave us the most deets during CES, so here’s a breakdown of what we learned.

The mobile-only vide service will launch on April 6th with two pricing plans. An ad-supported option for $4.99 per month and a premium option (ad-free) for $7.99 per month.

Within the 12 months following its launch, Quibi will boast more than 175 shows (35 of those will be movies) and 8,500 short episodes, with three hours of fresh content rolling out daily.

The service will have three types of content offerings: movies told in 7-10 minute chapters, episodic shows (scripted and non-scripted) spanning a variety of genres including food (yes, please), sports, and documentary series, and daily essentials, which are 5-6 minute news shows.

The Take
We spoke with a lot of people and there are very mixed reviews. Although a majority of folks believe Quibi will be a success, there’s a fair share of naysayers that thinks the service will be a dud. These were some of the comments we heard.

“Mobile-only will never work. Look at Go90.”

“Why would I pay monthly for Quibi when I don’t even watch short-form video on Facebook Watch, Instagram TV, or Snap Originals for free?”

“Movies, split into chapters. Why couldn’t I watch a 120-minute movie and press pause every 10 minutes?”

The pro-Quibi camp harmonizes around the idea that “You don’t want to bet against Jeffrey Katzenberg,” and it’s understandable why you wouldn’t. He turned Disney around in the late ’80s, and launched Dreamworks SKG with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen which sold to NBCU in 2016 for $3.8 billion.

At CES last week, Katzenberg unapologetically said “Sorry. I’ve been doing this…I get to say this…I’ve been doing this before you all were f**king born.”

Quibi will be very different than the streaming services we’re used to. Will users embrace the mobile-centric offering? Will people want to flip their phone around while watching a show? We have no idea and that’s why this launch is the one we’re most excited about this year.

And while we’re on the topic of things that are different and potentially disruptive, remember all the people who thought the iPhone would never catch-on just because it didn’t have a physical keyboard? We’re looking at you, Crackberry users.

On April 6th, the world will be watching. We’ll find out whether or not it’ll be on mobile.



Netflix’s leads all 2020 Oscar nominations thanks to The Irishman and Marriage Story. Quartz

Amazon’s Fire TV platform now reaches over 40 million monthly active users, topping Roku. TechCrunch

TiVo Unveils a Streaming Player to Compete with Roku, Fire TV, & More. Cord Cutters News

Netflix Expected to Bring Mobile-Only Plan to More Markets. Hollywood Reporter

DAZN tops 500m streaming hours in 2019. SportsPro Media

Verizon Fios Breaks Cable Rules With ‘Mix & Match’. Multichannel News

Discovery is Planning to Launch a Streaming Service Featuring All of Its Brands. Cord Cutters News

Comcast to Integrate CBS All Access into X1 and Flex. Multichannel News

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