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CBS All Access Seeks to Carve its Niche Among Streaming Platforms

CBS All Access is gearing up for its largest slate of originals to date next year with 10 series on deck.

That’s a fraction of the volume served up by its larger competitors on the streaming arena, but CBS All Access continues to grow, with an estimated 2.5 million subscribers as the fourth anniversary of its launch approaches in October. That amounts to a nearly 100% gain during the past year, CBS All Access president/COO Marc DeBevoise told reporters Sunday during CBS’ portion of the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The average age of subscribers is 43. Viewership is balanced among men and women, with men accounting for 52% of all viewing. CBS has boldly predicted that All Access will have 4 million subs by next year and 8 million by 2022. The service is gradually spreading its wings outside the U.S. A Canadian version launched earlier this year and Australia is on track for the fourth quarter.

The focus at present is expanding the roster of original programs. But at the same time, CBS All Access’ selling point versus Netflix, Amazon and other competitors is the range of programming options, from the NFL and major live events on CBS to the CBSN news service and the upcoming launch of hyper-local 24/7 streaming news that will begin later this year with CBS’ New York O&O, WCBS-TV. Also coming soon is an “Entertainment Tonight”-branded channel focused on entertainment news.

The other major asset is a library of classic TV shows that it owns outright, unlike its competitors.

“We have something a little different,” DeBevoise told Variety. “We have a great library and live television network, a news service. We’re not as big as the other streaming networks, but when you put it all together and we have real heft.”

DeBevoise and CBS All Access originals chief Julie McNamara talked up plans for new series including a reboot of “The Twilight Zone” from Jordan Peele and Simon Kinberg and a fairy tale-inspired anthology “Tell Me a Story,” shepherded by Kevin Williamson.

“With originals it’s about getting the right things, not necessarily about volume,” DeBevoise said. “At this point we’re trying to put more (shows) on the platform and get more people to subscribe.”

CBS has the Super Bowl in 2019, which will be a natural marketing opportunity for All Access. “We see this as a huge growth opportunity throughout the fall and into the winter,” DeBevoise said, as the Super Bowl approaches and “Star Trek: Discovery” returns for its sophomore year in early 2019.

(Pictured: Marc DeBevoise)

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