Hot on the heels of the announcement of a new streaming service from cable channel HBO (reported here last week), broadcast TV giant CBS has begun a standalone streaming service to deliver CBS programming.
The service does not distribute CBS’s broadcast feed through the service, instead offering shows from the network’s extensive programming library, including full seasons of current daytime and primetime programs. Current primetime shows will not be made available until the day after they air on the broadcast network. The network’s sports programming remains tied to broadcast and cable/satellite delivery as well.
Those concessions will allow the network’s local broadcast affiliates and cable and satellite providers to breathe easier for a while, but probably not for long.
CBS All Access costs subscribers $5.99 per month, and some programming includes commercials. It launched last Thursday, so those interested in giving it a try can do so right away.
Whether there will be a big market for the service remains to be seen, of course, as the amount of programming choices continues its rapid increase on both cable/satellite television and via the internet. CBS, however, has been the top-rated TV network for most years of the past couple of decades, and its library includes past fan favorites such as Star Trek, Twin Peaks, and Cheers. Cord-cutters who have already watched nearly all the Netflix-available programs and movies they’re interested in might consider switching.
In addition, given CBS’s deep pockets, it might not be long before CBS All Access starts premiering programs of its own, as Netflix and Amazon.com have done with much success.
The one certainty is that the market for TV programming is fracturing rapidly, which will ultimately force down the prices to consumers while increasing choice. From a consumer perspective, that is an ideal outcome.