CBS eyes int’l Showtime OTT launches

The Affair 1US broadcaster CBS is looking at international launches for its new Showtime OTT on-demand platform “within certain windows”.

The service, which currently is only available to broadband customers in the US and offers shows such as Ray Donovan and The Affair (pictured), launched on July 12 priced at US$12.99.

During an investors’ call yesterday, CBS Corp. president and CEO Les Moonves said the over-the-top platform could potentially roll out further, either as a stand-alone service, or a branded licensing agreement akin to the one struck in January with Canada’s Bell Media-owned SVOD platform Crave and pay TV channel The Movie Network.

“Looking at international, the upside is great,” he said. “It starts with making sure we own the intellectual property, and I think that was a strategy we put in place years ago to make sure we owned our shows and worldwide rights.

“So obviously, we can certainly export Showtime OTT internationally within certain windows, but we use Bell Canada as another example of working with a local partner to basically have a Showtime over-the-top service and make the money that way.

“We’re trying to be indifferent and being flexible to what the opportunity is, but basically, the fundamental theory is the content is working, the brand is working, and that we have to think about Showtime as a global brand.”

Moonves declined to say how many US subscribers would lead Showtime OTT to break-even, but did say it would not take “many”.

“With both Showtime OTT and [CBS programming SVOD service] CBS All Access, we are establishing price points for our programming that are much higher than what we have gotten before,” he added.

“Just to give you a sense of the opportunity here, every one million subs we add for Showtime OTT represents $100 million in new annual revenue, much of which will drop right to the bottom line.”

CBS’s second quarter results revealed revenues up 1% at US$3.22 billion on lower-than-last-year profits of US$332 million.

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