Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Star Trek: Discovery speculation (streaming business edition)

I was wondering how many new sign-ups CBS All Access got following the premiere of “Star Trek: Discovery” (please don’t call it “ST:D”) but there is no official data available.

Photo credit: Smoha1996
via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
According to an article published after “Discovery’s” premiere, “…CBS announced on Monday that Discovery helped the platform set a single-day record for All Access on Sunday….but the network declined to…release any actual numbers.” Another article said that “…the number of downloads of the CBS mobile app grew by 2.5x following the premiere of the show.” The specificity of referencing the “mobile app” might suggest that this only refers to All Access subscriptions through mobile devices and not others like Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, etc.

As I understand it, the bulk of the production cost came out of Netflix’s coffers (which only has international streaming rights to the show, an audience about 25 times the number of CBS’s confirmed pre-“Discovery” subscribers.). I don’t know how the return on investment works or how viewership can be independently analyzed for streaming programming (Netflix doesn’t release those kinds of details either) so it’s going to be really difficult to gauge whether or not the show will be “successful” enough to warrant additional seasons.

Other articles that I’ve read suggest that since the bulk of production costs came from Netflix, it’ll most likely be their call as to whether the series gets renewed. It would probably take a major windfall of new subscribers to CBS All Access to enable them to take on the cost of producing a second season and I don’t think that being able to pay for it is any guarantee that they would, especially if they can secure financing from Netflix again–which might be possible but only IF the show is “successful” in their international streaming market.

The reviews so far seem to be pretty good but that just isn’t the primary consideration when looking at the long-term potential of a series.

I’m not an “All Access” subscriber and I don’t want to be. I just can’t justify it for a single show since I don’t watch very much CBS programming anyway and most of the other current programs are broadcast anyway. My current plan is sign up for the one week free trial around the time of the season finale, binge the show and then cancel.

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