CBS sees consumers taking as many as 10 OTT video subscriptions

CBS’s streaming strategy doesn’t entirely rely on subscription models. (FierceVideo)

CBS has set big subscriber growth goals for CBS All Access and Showtime OTT. It’s also facing a lot of new streaming competition. But it’s no problem, according to one company executive.

Marc DeBevoise, president and chief operating officer at CBS Interactive, said the average uptake of streaming services is going to expand a lot. He told Ad Age that the current average is already more than three streaming services per consumer, and while that number isn’t likely to grow as high as two dozen, he certainly sees it getting into the double digits.

“We feel like we are on the right rocket ship. We don’t know exactly what seat we’re in but we’re certainly on it and headed to good places,” DeBevoise said.

Earlier this month, CBS said that its direct-to-consumer subscriber base had increased 71% year over year. That update came after the company in February said that All Access and Showtime OTT had 8 million combined subscribers.

CBS expects to have 25 million combined direct-to-consumer subscribers by 2022.

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If DeBevoise’s 10 OTT service prediction comes true, and Parks Associates’ latest top 10 U.S. OTT video service rankings hold up, then All Access and Showtime OTT have a good shot at making the cut as adoption of OTT services expand. Parks ranked Showtime and CBS All Access at seven and eight, respectively, behind Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Now, Starz and MLB.TV.

Of course, some major new competitors, including Apple, Disney+, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia, are all launching new streaming services soon. Those services all have the potential to snatch subscribers away from any current OTT streaming service on the market.

But CBS’s streaming strategy doesn’t entirely rely on subscription models. The company also has several free, ad-supported streaming services including CBS Sports HQ and CBSN, a 24-hour streaming news network that has added local market coverage.

DeBevoise said those ad-supported services are growing in the high double digits, adding more distribution and making available more ad inventory.

“I think the great news is that we’re able to deliver for consumers a tighter ad experience,” said DeBevoise. “There are fewer ads per hour, they are tighter in the way they that they operate, and when we are able to deliver great sponsorship opportunities we can even eliminate more of that ad inventory in a very easy fashion, which on some of the traditional platforms it’s very structured, and stays the way it is and can’t change.”