CBS has launched a “commercial-free” option for its All Access subscription-video service, priced at $9.99 per month – but it won’t be entirely without ads.
While the 7,500-plus episodes of the Eye’s shows will be available to watch on-demand without ads, All Access’s live-streaming offering of local CBS television stations will continue to include the same commercials as the over-the-air broadcasts. The local programming is available on CBS All Access in about 150 U.S. markets. In addition, certain on-demand shows will include “promotional interruptions,” CBS said.
The regular CBS All Access service with ads, launched in the fall of 2014, costs $5.99 monthly. At $9.99 per month, CBS All Access without ads in VOD content is the same price as Netflix’s standard two-stream HD plan. Hulu last fall rolled out an ad-free option for $11.99 monthly, and this month phased out the free version of its service.
“The foundation of CBS All Access is not only about giving CBS fans access to more of the content they want, but also giving them more choice in how they watch their favorite CBS programming,” Marc DeBevoise, president and COO of CBS Interactive, said in announcing the new plan. “The addition of a commercial-free plan gives our subscribers even more ways to customize their CBS viewing experience – from which devices to whether they watch in or out of the home, and now with commercials or without.”
In July, CBS said it had about 1 million subscribers to All Access (as well as about 1 million for the Showtime over-the-top service).
A CBS rep said the “ad-free” version of All Access does not strip out the commercials in the local TV feeds because those cannot be technically removed from the live streams. It’s also likely that CBS’s agreements with affiliates preclude it from doing so anyway.
CBS execs previously have discussed the potential for an ad-free version of All Access in the past. CEO Leslie Moonves floated the idea last year and DeBevoise teased the idea at the Television Critics Association summer tour earlier this month.
CBS All Access offers more than 7,500 episodes, including full current seasons of primetime shows like “Big Brother,” “Blue Bloods,” “Madam Secretary” and “The Odd Couple,” as well as late-night, daytime and news programming. Upcoming original series on the service include the next chapter of the “Star Trek” TV franchise, “Star Trek: Discovery,” as well as a spinoff of “The Good Wife” and a new digital edition of “Big Brother.”
Current subscribers to the $5.99-per-month plan will have the option to move to the mostly commercial-free plan by logging on to their account through CBS.com.