Showtime’s OTT Video Service Is Coming Soon

/ Mar 11, 2015


Last September, CBS Corp. chief executive Les Moonves hinted at the possibility of Showtime, much like its premium cable rival HBO, launching an over-the-top video service in the future — though, at the time, he wasn’t so sure about the timing. “Is there some time in the future when that could happen? Absolutely. I don’t know when that is,” he had said.

It seems he has a better idea now. Speaking at a Deutsche Bank conference in Florida this week, Moonves predicted that Showtime will launch an OTT video service like HBO Now in the “not-too-distant future.”

That’s still not very specific, but Moonves did credit the HBO Now announcement, and the fanfare surrounding it, for pushing conversations his company is having with potential partners and distributors. “I think the floodgates are now open,” he said, adding that CBS/Showtime received a “number of calls from existing players and digital players that we’ve talked to in the past” following the HBO Now announcement.

Moonves did note that traditional pay-TV distributors are “skeptical” of OTT video services, not wanting to support something that could cannibalize their existing business. But referring to the interest Showtime has received from potential distribution partners, he’s not worried about how OTT might change the network business. “I don’t see how anybody cannot view this as a positive for HBO and also a positive for Showtime. There is going to be more revenue,” he said.

Of course, CBS Corp. isn’t a stranger to OTT and SVOD. Its broadcast network has CBS All-Access, which provides live and on-demand access to a great bulk of its programming for $5.99 per month.

Moonves would not disclose exactly how well the subscription service is doing; however, when asked if All-Access has more than 100,000 subscribers, he said: “It’s more than that number. I’ll tell you that.” He added that the service has attracted the type of audience that it was hoping to by going over the top — cord-cutters, people on the go, and “super-fans.”

“Clearly the bundle is changing. The days of the 500-channel universe are over,” he said. “The days of the 150-channel universe in the home are not necessarily over, but it’s changing rapidly. People are slicing and dicing it in different ways.”

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