Friday, May 3, 2019

CBS Brass Talk-Up Streaming

Streaming dominated Thursday’s CBS conference call with analysts to discuss first-quarter results.

While the quarter did not quite meet Wall Street expectations, CBS All Access and Showtime marked a seventh straight quarter of dynamic growth, and CBS digital chief Jim Lanzone joined the call to offer more color on the company’s plans.

While Disney, WarnerMedia, Apple and NBCUniversal are all readying new streaming launches, the CBS team emphasized their experience in the streaming space, dating back to carriage of the Final Four in the 2000s, the Super Bowl in 2011 and the launch of CBS All Access in 2014.

According to Deadline, CBS All Access and Showtime are projected by the company to have a combined 25 million subscribers by 2022. They saw a 71% gain in the quarter, the biggest subscriber jump in their brief history.

Asked about whether the company would consider merging or more tightly bundling the two services, both executives demurred. Lanzone said there would be no “back-end” reason to make such a move, so the main consideration would be in terms of marketing the services and acquiring customers. But “we already offer them as up-sells to the user base,” he said. “So far, to date, the user bases are differentiated somewhat.” Even so, he did acknowledge, “We are looking at it.”

Acting CEO Joe Ianniello was a bit firmer in support of the status quo. “The consumer wants optionality, we’re giving them optionality,” he said. “If we combine them, we feel we could have less subscribers.”

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