During an earnings report conference call with reporters today, CBS Corporation’s president and CEO Les Moonves talked for a bit about the decision to launch STAR TREK: SERIES SIX (our placeholder title) on the online streaming service CBS All Access rather than on broadcast television.
A lot of conversation went into what we were going to do [with the new show].
While stressing that CBS will continue to supply other content to both Netflix and Hulu, Moonves described the Star Trek franchise as the “family jewel” for their ongoing business.
We’re looking to do original content on All Access and build up that platform. Netflix is our friend, [but] a competitor. They compete with Showtime [which is a CBS holding]. All Access will put out original content and knowing the loyalty of “Star Trek” fans, this will boost it.
There’s about a billion channels out there and because of “Star Trek,” people will know what All Access is about.
Moonves continued, discussing the international plans for extended distribution.
All the series have done well in terms of streaming. Added in to that, “Star Trek” is a huge international franchise. Our international distribution guy is going crazy; he can’t wait to get out to the marketplace and sell that.
Right away, we’re more than halfway home on the cost of the show from international alone. The risk is small in seeing the track record. We think it’ll be great and bring in a lot more subscribers. We’re really excited about it.
[The new show is] world-class effort that will make all “Star Trek” fans proud.
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Of course, Star Trek is no stranger to new distribution methods.
The abandoned Star Trek: Phase II sequel series was intended to be the cornerstone of a never-formed Paramount Television network, a move repeated in 1995 when UPN started on the back of Star Trek: Voyager. 1987’s Star Trek: The Next Generation, of course, was a groundbreaking example of a produced-for-syndication series sold directly to location stations in the United States, bypassing the standard broadcast model.
Specific non-US distribution plans have not been finalized or announced yet, but yesterday’s announcement from CBS does indicate that some form of streaming and television availability will be part of the release of SERIES SIX.
We’ve got lots still ahead of us in this new adventure — so hang on as we start the first new Trek adventure in years.
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