CBS Global Distribution Chief Outlines a Cautious Approach to Subscription Service Rollout

CBS won’t be following the example of some of its Hollywood rivals in a rapid push to build a global streaming service anytime soon, the company’s global distribution chief, Armando Nuñez, told an audience Monday at MipTV conference in Cannes.

Although the CBS All Access subscription service, which launched in the U.S. in 2014, has recently been expanded to Canada, as CBS All Access, and Australia, under the brand name 10 All Access, the company is in no rush to roll out the model elsewhere.

“We are not going to be doing what Disney – at least right now – appears to be doing and others in terms of just flipping the switch and going global, from a direct-to-consumer perspective,” he said during an onstage interview, after he received Variety’s International Achievement in TV Award. “We’ll be picking and choosing what markets that we are going to enter that business into now.”

He underscored the fact that as well as the CBS All Access brand, the company also has Showtime, when deciding how to push forward with subscription streaming services in various markets. “We have the benefit and the luxury of choice,” he said. “So we might utilize one brand or the other, or both, as we go forward with our direct-to-consumer ambitions.” Nuñez added that in some territories CBS would choose to license content, and not launch a direct-to-consumer service.

As other Hollywood studios launch global streaming services, they will hold their content back from the distribution market. That could present opportunities for international distributors, Nuñez said. “If they are no longer leasing their content to third-party platforms, for those of us that are still in the business of monetizing to third-party platforms it could be a really good thing because from a supply-demand perspective there is going to be less accessibility to U.S. content,” he said.

Asked about consolidation in the television market, and the possibility that CBS could be merged with Viacom, he refused to be drawn. “That’s not my call. That’s something that the CBS board of directors is working on, and a company like CBS is looking at many M&A opportunities from a board perspective.”

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