back to article CBS goes OTT, releases EVERY EPISODE of Star Trek EVER MADE

Only a day after HBO announced its OTT intentions, CBS followed suit and unveiled its own online ambitions – with archived content, current shows and livestreams in CBS’s 14 largest markets. The service is available now and costs $5.99 per month, which is much cheaper than the $15 that HBO is apparently due to charge. And …

  1. Irongut Silver badge

    US only and you have to dig in the FAQ to find that out.

    The entertainment industry needs to stop thinking locally. Netflix UK has a fraction of the selection of Netflix US and none of these new services will be available outside the US. Think of all those billions of potential subscribers you're missing!

    1. Shrimpling

      Yep I have just searched the FAQ to find this out as well. Disappointing.

      You would have thought the "London-based publishing and consulting firm" that wrote the piece would have mentioned this.

    2. Joe Drunk

      Netflix US already has every Star Trek episode ever made, one of the things making my Netflix subscription very appealing. Does this mean CBS will eventually be pulling ST from Netflix and making available on CBS OTT exclusively?

    3. 142

      It's mostly due to legacy rights issues, such as licenses for songs on the shows, films etc. Royalty agreements with the screenwriters, etc.

      They can all be worked out, but it's expensive, and takes time.

      The BBC faces the a similar problem with putting its archive on iplayer. It may be public funded, but they didn't buy unlimited streaming rights from their writers, or from the music publishers.


      Funny you should mention that.

      Netflix you say? The funny thing about that is that the US subscription streaming services have already had all of Trek available for streaming. Don't recall if it's Netflix or Amazon Prime or both.

      CBS is late to the party.

    5. Stevie

      Netflix UK has a fraction of the selection of Netflix US

      Perhaps if there weren't so many loud voices in the UK braying about how crap US programs are, the assumption wouldn't be "no-one will watch over there" and your choice would be broader.

      I believe this is your petard, UK viewers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Netflix UK has a fraction of the selection of Netflix US

        > I believe this is your petard, UK viewers.

        Weird. So UK viewers think US TV is crap so the US studios go out of their way to prevent them watching the shows that they wouldn't watch anyway? Strange logic you have there.

      2. PunkTiger

        Re: Netflix UK has a fraction of the selection of Netflix US

        I think the lack of content on Netflix UK is more along the lines of why BBC America can't broadcast British shows like Would I Lie To You?, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Mock The Week, Have I Got News For You, and the crown jewel of panel shows, QI, in the US. Clearing the rights to broadcast specific sounds, music, video, and still pictures in another country can get prohibitively expensive.

        I could very well be wrong, but I'm sure that might be some part of it.

      3. AlaskaHome1959

        Re: Netflix UK has a fraction of the selection of Netflix US

        I don't think the issue is that ALL US programs are crap. Just most of them. But the fact that UK viewers don't want to watch crap US shows shouldn't be interpreted as grounds for a blanket moratorium which prevents them from watching the NOT crap US shows. I don't want to watch crap shows either, but I don't want that used as justification to prevent me from watching the non crap shows I DO want to watch.

        1. jason 7

          Re: Netflix UK has a fraction of the selection of Netflix US


          You appear to have a very different view to myself and my friends and family here in the UK.

          The quality of UK TV has nosedived so much over the past 15 years it's unreal. The BBC and ITV now have just two or three premier shows that they make so much noise about it makes it look like there is so much more.

          But really there isn't. Take Dr Who, Sherlock and Top Gear (to be honest the quality of all of them is suspect) away from the BBC and you are left with very little of depth and entertainment value. Plus the actual watchable output hours of those shows per year is tiny. Not to mention, where did all the good comedy go?

          Now compare that with all the major US based drama/sci-fi/comedy shows over the past 5 years and you are swamped for choice.

          Folks aren't subscribing to Prime and Netflix in their droves for Strictly Come Dancing.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Netflix UK has a fraction of the selection of Netflix US

          UK viewers don't want to watch crap US shows? So who watched Dynasty? And who watches You Are What You Eat? And How Clean is Your House?

          Okay, so that latter two are crap UK shows, not crap US shows. Still, a crap show is a crap show. Someone's watching them.

    6. NoneSuch Silver badge

      They think locally because their mindset does not conceive of any other country but theirs. When they learn history, they only learn US history (And a biased version at that).

      This fragmentation of individual companies offering online services is the first step. The second is someone buying them all up and offering a Netflix subscription type service for one stop shopping. Call me then.

  2. Spud

    OTT ?

    I've read the entire article with OTT meaning Over The Top. Seems to still make sense to me

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OTT ?

      I was wondering what the One True Thread had to do with any of this.

      I tend to mix up the memes from my Friday website reading.

    2. unitron

      Re: OTT ?

      Unfortunately it doesn't mean "going all out", it's just a new name for Set Top Boxes that you get from someone other than your cable company in order to feed your TV with something you get over the internet.

  3. John Tserkezis

    Real Trek fans would already have everything.

    Including the fan-made episodes that are sometimes of high production value, that will never see the light of day on any TV network - cabled or otherwise.

    1. Semtex451

      Re: Real Trek fans would already have everything.

      And the animated series dontcha know

  4. Tom 13

    Re: releases EVERY EPISODE of Star Trek EVER MADE

    Really really every episode? Including the animated series? With full soundtrack?

    Because I tried to watch that series on Netflix, and after about the 5th episode they lost the voice track on the audio.


      Re: releases EVERY EPISODE of Star Trek EVER MADE

      ...pretty much.

      The Netflix versions of these are great until you realize that they are low quality or they have been "widescreened". Then you want to go and use your own copy.

      TV in general has this problem. It seems to apply equally to broadcast TV, cable TV, and streaming services.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The new fashion of pricing subs at about 5.00 p/m looks great, until you add up how much having multitudes of them is going to cost. This direct sub model will fail as people don't have infinite 5.99s or 9.99s to spend every month.

    1. DropBear

      Oh, just leave handling that to the marketroids. Let's see how soon does the "TV for just 5.99 p/m" turn into "TV for only 20p a day"...

      1. b166er

        See my remark below.

        I'm not a marketroid, promise! :D

        As long as it's 20p per day on a daily basis, we're fine. That or buy £10 worth of credit and use it at a rate of 20p per hour (40p for premium).

    2. Tom 35

      It's not just having 5 different charges a month, you also have 5 different player aps available on different devices with different UIs.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > This direct sub model will fail as people don't have infinite 5.99s or 9.99s to spend every month.

      This is ultimately why this is going to fail I think.

      There will be some success but the likes of HBO are not going to see the kind of take-up that Netflix is seeing.

    4. AlaskaHome1959

      > This direct sub model will fail as people don't have infinite 5.99s or 9.99s to spend every month.

      Just to be clear: direct sub model is not the problem. The problem is that the networks envision ratcheting up their cut from about $1-2/month per channel (their current maximum cut of the subscriber fees under the current cable/satellite system) to $5-15/month. THAT is what will cause the failures of direct sub as implemented by CBS, HBO, et al. The reason Netflix is able to get away with their pricing is because they have content from a wide array of providers, not just one (although the backlash from consumers due to their recent price increase should serve as a warning to the industry).

  6. dotdavid

    A step in the right direction making their back catalogues more available, but I can't help but wince that all the individual content providers are rolling their own systems rather than collaborating.

    Considering how much actual free time people have to watch, say, Star Trek, I would expect people to subscribe to just one or two services at a time, switching when the content has been exhausted. Which won't be particularly good for business if there are any setup/teardown costs. Why not also licence the catalog to existing OTT providers like NetFlix, Amazon etc?

    Also the region restrictions are stupid; they really need to take another look at whether the (admittedly lucrative) foreign distribution contracts really make sense in a globally connected world.

  7. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Anyone got an NTSC codec

    i dont think I could watch the earlier ones without the red shirts being completely saturated out.

    1. montyburns56

      Re: Anyone got an NTSC codec

      "without the red shirts being completely saturated out" is that a new term for dying?

  8. Raumkraut

    Who ransoms whom?

    Going OTT lets CBS simultaneously cut out the middleman and hold him to ransom. That is: it can bypass the cablecos, ISPs and satellite companies by going straight to any consumer with an adequate internet connection, while also using that threat as a hammer to beat them down in contract negotiations.

    You can't bypass the ISPs, if you rely on your customer's ISP to deliver your content.

    "That's a nice content delivery platform you have there, Mister CBS. Would be a shame if it were to get... congested."

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Does that include the episodes made by 'robot chicken' ?

    The Next Generation's Night Crew...

  10. b166er

    Let's be generous and say the average Netflix (for example) viewer watches 1 hour per day.

    At £6 per month, that's 0.20p per day, or 0.20p per hour.

    So if all content providers were to,charge, say 0.20p per hour for their mainstream catalogue, or say, 0.40p per hour for blockbusters or what they class as premium content (the BBC colour TV license is almost exactly 0.40p per day), then it wouldn't matter if we needed multiple subscriptions to multiple providers.

    If however, they all charge £6 per month, someone's going to lose out somewhere.

    The consumer will lose out through being unable or unwilling to pay for access to all they content they want to watch. Some content providers will lose out to others because they're not in the viewers discretionary budget.

    If providers harmonise the price per minute watched, they could also sell that to other service providers in bulk, similar to existing agreements such as MVNO etc.

    Fragmenting is a bad move and will ultimately lead to a loss in revenue unless the price is harmonised at an affordable rate.

    1. Tom 13

      @ b166er

      Yes the transition will be chaotic, but eventually it will settle out as better for everyone. Right now you're seeing those big charges because that's how the current oligopoly works - they charge middling per person charges to aggregators who pay they millions. Right now they're trying to keep those numbers balanced because if they don't their shareholders will get pissed off. But it will open the door to other options. For example say The Guild opened a channel for $12/year or a dollar a month. While that would probably send everyone at CBS out on the sky scrapper ledge, that might be a lot more income for them than they get now. A lot fewer shows but perhaps worth $12 to enough people to make it work. At that point pricing moves lower and people can pay for what they want to see, probably without commercials.

      1. SineWave242

        Re: @ b166er

        I won't pay for any service that chokes me with ads. I want to watch what I want to watch and it's not ads, especially in the middle of a documentary, series or a film.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Nailed it. $1 per month feels right but they'd have to include the ability to do binge style consumption of an entire season and all prior seasons if I pre-pay the year. I could justify, to myself anyway, that as I only watch full-immersion when I bother at all. Apparently there's quite a few of us out there who are intolerant around geo-blocking and immediate only viewing (only when *they* allow us to view it).

      One way or another the peeps will pry your grasping claws off our wants Hollywood. The main reason i don't bother with media period is I'm a control-freak, most engineers are, so I get jealous when others try to control me. The rest of the population are of the mind that they want what they want and they want it *now*. And if Hollywood ain't willing and able the peeps turn to torrents. What part of satisfying consumer demand don't they understand?

    3. AlaskaHome1959

      I think your estimate is overly pessimistic. My wife and I have Netflix as do several people I know. The daily average is probably closer to 2-3 hours a day, particularly when there are kids in the family.

      1. jason 7

        Yes I would say Netflix And Amazon Prime make up for 3-4 hours of viewing a night this time of year. Not to mention the stuff we watch separately (Lost Girl for her, Community for me).

        When you can switch on the streaming box and you have hundreds of seasons of top US drama and comedy shows, you just keep going. Sat and watched three episodes of The Good Wife last night.

        Terrestrial TV watching is now down to just CSI Vegas (coming to an end), CH4 News and maybe the odd music documentary on BBC4. Hardly worth the cost to be honest.

  11. Dylan Fahey

    More crap I'll never pay for.

    We only have so much money. I prefer to feed my family good food. I'll torrent the rest.

  12. Andy Taylor


    I thought most Trek fans prefer the term "Trekker".

    What's the difference? Well, a Trekker wonders what sex is like in zero gravity. A Trekkie wonders what sex is like.

  13. Robert Helpmann??

    Rotting on the Vine?’s also entirely possible that Fox, NBC and ABC decide to go independently OTT and leave Hulu to die.

    They will piss all of Hulu's current customers off by pulling their content and asking for more than they were previously having to pay. Meanwhile, Hulu has started producing its own content. Hulu might die, but it looks as though it will go down swinging if it does.

  14. ks2problema

    So disappointing in its execution...

    As a huge fan of the original b&w Perry Mason series that ran on CBS between 1957 and 1968, racking up something like 350 episodes, I was immediately intrigued by this -- unfortunately, it looks as clueless as CBS's previous, free-but-ad-driven presentation of two seasons of original PM's. THIS only has ONE season! You used to be able to get TWO seasons for free with ad breaks (ads that were literally as much as 4 times louder than the show itself). Then they pulled those but put up DEAD LINKS to the whole 10 seasons. All dead links. After about a year of that, they pulled those. Geniacs.


      Re: So disappointing in its execution...

      if you really like the show that much just bite the bullet and get the DVDs.

      Sure, it's not cheap but you will always have them and you will never have to worry about ads or any sort of mutilation. Now that the whole run has been published, the prices may even have come down some.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm really hoping that this doesn't undermine Hulu...

    Its going to get really annoying if you have to get 5-6 of these OTT services if you want 5-6 networks' content. Hulu currently channels ABC, Fox and NBC content, plus other channels, including the BBC's more universally visible series.

  16. AlaskaHome1959

    To echo the sentiments of other posters here:

    1) The commercials which CBS (and other traditionally ota-broadcaster insist on inserting into their non-broadcast offerings) ALREADY pay for the shows. So why should I pay for the "privilege" of watching the commercials that have ALREADY paid for the shows, which simply insults me for being stupid enough to pay for something that was already paid for?

    2) Do the math. Grab your cable or satellite bill and calculate out the cost of each channel in an "add on package" -- be it a "premium" channel such as HBO (which is generally packaged with several other "premium" channels), or non-"premium" channels (such as Food Network or History Channel), or a "broadcast" channel (which is part of a "local channels" rebroadcast). The typical price for each network is about $1-2 bucks. Not $6 (CBS), not $15 (HBO). What is it with these network types that think that the consuming public is stupid, can't do basic math or apply basic reasoning to realize that the network is trying to double-dip and over charge? These idiots have a golden goose and rather than let it lay its golden eggs and they collect them as they come along, they want to gut the goose.

    They are idiots. Yes, I know they have "degrees" in "business", but those degrees don't make them smart. They only makes them overeducated idiots.

  17. ecofeco Silver badge


    Hulu's got my name. I've been using the free version for several years now. Aside from a fairly quickly resolved account glitch, (3 days, but to be fair it was a tough one and I got an ad free week out of it) I love it and the ads aren't really that annoying. In fact, they are few enough that they serve the lost and time honored purpose of making me take a break.

    News and entertainment everywhere and back to free.

    The game is almost over for cable companies as entertainers and gatekeepers. Another walled garden is disappearing. Thank god.

  18. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    5000 episodes of Star Trek?

    Break out the sandwiches!

  19. Rottenham

    Content Owners, eh?

    Tell us about how much money the POOR ARTISTS who actually created these shows will be making.

  20. ADRM

    CBS will win and screw over everyone in the process

    Just ask WISH TV CH8 Indianapolis the long time CBS broadcaster who stalled CBS when renewing licensing during negotiations. Now they are CBS less and after January 1st who know what they'll broadcast. Indianapolis TV market ranks 26th / 210 in the US and has 1,114,970 viewers.

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