“Star Trek: Discovery” got off to a solid start for CBS on Sunday night with a multi-pronged assignment.
For CBS, the premiere of the much-anticipated addition to the “Star Trek” canon delivered a respectable crowd of 9.6 million viewers and a 1.9 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic.
For CBS All Access, the dawn of a new day for “Star Trek” broke the SVOD service’s single-day record for new subscriber sign-ups, besting the mark set earlier this year by the Feb. 12 Grammy Awards telecast.
CBS would not disclose the total number of new subscribers but said that the past week also marked a record for new sign-ups, and not surprisingly the month of September is pacing to be a record. The real test for CBS Corp. is how many of those free-trial subscribers convert to paying customers down the road after the gratis month ends. Those numbers should be evident by early next year when the Eye reports its fourth-quarter earnings.
To date, CBS has said that its All Access and Showtime standalone OTT services are poised to top 4 million subscribers by year’s end. Showtime is believed to account for a higher percentage of those subscribers, suggesting that CBS All Access is somewhere around 1.5 million subs.
CBS’ battle plan with CBS All Access original series has been to launch the shows with simultaneous premieres on the mothership Eye and All Access, with subsequent episodes only airing on All Access. Netflix has worldwide rights to the series under a mammoth deal inked last year.
On CBS, “Discovery” delivered a strong complement of male viewers, even as it went up against NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” The live audience for “Discovery,” which revolves around an ambitious Starfleet officer played by Sonequa Martin-Green, was 55% male (about 5 million viewers) to 45% female (4.15 million). The show had a strong lead-in from CBS’ NFL coverage, but it also had to contend with a pigskin-delayed 8:48 p.m. ET start time in East Coast markets
CBS projects that viewing of “Discovery” via CBS’ linear platform will grow to more than 15 million viewers and a 3.0 adults 18-49 demo rating when Nielsen’s live-plus-7 ratings come in week after next. The Eye anticipates another 5% to 10% gain in total viewers in the 35-day ratings measure.