CBS has announced a new SVOD (subscription video on demand) service which will deliver thousands of current and archival series episodes to the IP devices of consumers for $5.99 a month.
Available starting Thursday at CBS.com, as well as via apps for iOS and Android mobile devices, CBS All Access will deliver live feeds from 15 big-market CBS stations, as well as full seasons of 15 current prime-time shows, starting with episodes the day after they air.
Eight shows including The Good Wife, Blue Bloods and Survivor will have their past seasons made available, and CBS will also offer ad-free access to more than 5,000 episodes of "classic" programming, including Star Trek, Cheers, MacGyver and Twin Peaks.
"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 of CBS Corp., in a statement. "This new subscription service will deliver the most of CBS to our biggest fans while being additive to the overall ecosystem."
Speaking in a live interview to Re/code, Moonves insisted the move "isn't a shot across the bow" to pay-TV providers, who are being charged significant retransmission money to show CBS signals. Rather, he described the launch as a strategic move to control CBS' destiny at a time when the major pay-TV services are consolidating.
The news followed the equally ground-shifting announcement by Time Warner Inc. that HBO will sell an a la carte streaming product starting in 2015. The key difference between HBO and CBS is, of course, the nature of the content. HBO is dealing with pay-TV content, while CBS is merely bringing free over-the-air shows to IP devices.
CBS is also one of the leading legal challengers to Aereo, which has tried to launch its own streaming service based on broadcast TV content.
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