CBS Corp. has made it official, announcing the launch of its broadband-only Showtime service in early July with Apple as its first partner.
CBS has set a price tag of $10.99 a month for the stand-alone offering, to be available to users of iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV. The launch date coincides with the July 12 season premieres of dramas “Ray Donovan” and “Masters of Sex.”
Other distribution partners are expected to sign on shortly.
“Going over-the-top means Showtime will be much more accessible to tens of millions of potential new subscribers,” said CBS Corp. president-CEO Leslie Moonves. “Across CBS, we are constantly finding new ways to monetize our programming by capitalizing on opportunities presented by technology. This works best when you have outstanding premium content – like we do at Showtime – and when you have a terrific partner like Apple – which continues to innovate and build upon its loyal customer base.”
Added Showtime chairman Matt Blank: “At Showtime, we’re excited to offer consumers the opportunity to subscribe in new ways, by simply having an internet connection,” said Blank. “Our intent is to make Showtime available to viewers via every manner possible, giving them an enormous amount of choice in accessing our programming.”
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Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services, said the goal is to make subscribing to Showtime “as simple as buying an app.”
“We’re excited to offer Apple customers Showtime’s live channels and extensive on demand library of great TV shows and movies, without a cable or satellite subscription,” he said.
CBS moved aggressively into the OTT arena last October with the launch of CBS All Access, a $6 per month service that offers access to the Eye’s vast library of shows, all episodes of current CBS series and the ability to live stream affiliate stations signals in CBS O&O markets and markets where CBS affiliates offer the service.
Showtime’s OTT service follows on the heels of HBO’s launch of HBO Now in April for $15 a month. HBO Now also launched with Apple, on the Apple TV device, as an exclusive distribution partner for a brief window, before signing Cablevision Systems and Google Play, which will offer the service on Android and Chromecast devices. HBO execs have said the volume of subscribers to date has exceeded expectations but it has not divulged any numbers.
CBS is in the midst of an expansion push for Showtime. In January, the Eye set its first deal to launch the Showtime brand outside the U.S. in a pact with Canada’s Bell Media.