A while back, we reported that CBS would be launching its own on-demand subscription service for its programming. Now, it appears to be putting its money where its mouth is, preparing for a huge marketing push for the forthcoming service.
The channel will ask consumers to pay $5.99 a month to gain access to instant programming from CBS, including current hits like The Big Bang Theory and NCIS, as well as classic series like Star Trek and Cheers, according to Variety. The real marketing push for the service will come the week after Thanksgiving, when the channel will run TV promotions for the service.
“December is a key month for our push,” said Marc DeBevoise, executive vice president, entertainment, sports and news, at CBS Interactive, in an interview. “It’s the time when the network has ended the first half of the season and goes into repeats and Christmas specials for a few weeks, then comes back in early January. It’s a unique time period and we are going to present something that’s very timely around catching up on the first half of the season.”
This won’t mark the first time that an on-demand service has run promotions on television. Netflix has introduced a savvy campaign focusing on such original programming as House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black; Amazon has a few ads running for its political comedy Alpha House, and even YouTube is getting in on the action, calling attention to such original programs as SciShow and Video Game High School.
With its ads, CBS looks to aim more towards “influencers” that will bring a bigger audience to the service. “It’s a broad campaign with very specific targeting inside of it,” said an executive. “You pick the right way to convert users to what we think is a product for ‘super-fans,’ or a premium product for people who really want CBS.”
On-demand is definitely picking up in numbers, with a 30 percent overall growth in revenue for the year – and it’s likely to expand even further in 2015, as HBO Go will enter the battle with its own on-demand services, marking the first time that users can catch its original programs without a subscription to the cable channel.
Surprisingly enough, on-demand services have also managed to top rentals. A report from 24WAList indicates that streaming services for the year have managed to total over $1.03 billion, a 26 percent increase from the previous year, while rental services have dropped 18 percent to $793 million. That’s still a hefty market, but quite a shift in popularity.
It’ll be interesting to see how much more on-demand services grow by this time next year…and, for that matter, if CBS can play a successful part in it, despite being a network channel first.