Streaming deal for summer series follows template set by 'Under the Dome'
“Extant,” from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and CBS TV Studios, will be available on Amazon Prime four days after each episode premieres on CBS starting in June. That allows the Eye network to make the most of live, DVR and VOD viewing done in the Nielsen C3 window, yet still command a hefty license fee from Amazon to help cover production costs.
“Our partnership with Amazon for ‘Under the Dome’ helped build a creative, financial and marketing model for event television in the summer,” Scott Koondel, CBS chief corporate licensing officer, said in a statement. “We look forward to using the same model for ‘Extant,’ a series whose creative auspices, on-screen talent and intriguing concept is already generating great excitement.”
One change from the “Dome” template is that CBS will be able to offer each week’s episode of “Extant” for ad-supported streaming via CBS.com. In the “Dome” deal, CBS.com had to take down the episodes as soon as the Amazon Prime window kicked in.
“Dome” was a hit for CBS last summer and a draw for Amazon’s growing content streaming biz, and the Internet retail giant renewed its pact for the second season of the show, based on the Stephen King novel. Amazon has not released specific stats but has said that “Dome” ranks as its most-watched series to date. CBS was known to have had conversations with Netflix about “Extant” as well.
CBS has earned gold stars from investors and Wall Streeters for experimenting with the series production business model with “Dome.”
The network leveraged the demand for marquee content by SVOD players into a deal that helped pay for a high-end production designed to run during the generally lower-rated summer months. Turning the lights back on for the network in the off season has been a priority for CBS, and “Dome” went a long way toward that goal.
“Dome” will be recognized on Thursday as the TV honoree at Variety‘s Breakthrough of the Year awards, presented as part of the 2014 International CES confab in Las Vegas.
“Extant” stars Berry as an astronaut who struggles to reconnect with her family after returning from a year in space, where her experiences will eventually change the course of history. Project marks Berry’s first TV series regular role.
The Amazon Prime free-shipping program, which costs $79 per year, includes unlimited access to streaming video selections, including Amazon Studios original series “Alpha House” and “Betas.”
Todd Spangler contributed to this report.