ViacomCBS-owned streaming services CBS All Access and Showtime OTT have reached a collective 10 million subscribers, said ViacomCBS chief digital officer and CBS Interactive chief exec Marc DeBevoise at the Television Critics Assn. winter press tour. That’s up from 8 million at last update.
“We’re in a great position to hit our goals of 25 million subscribers by 2022,” he said, adding that subscribers have been growing at a 60% rate, year over year.
Original series are a key driver for subscriber growth and viewer retention at All Access, which encompasses scripted and unscripted originals, live news, sports, entertainment, and local affiliate programming. The service also recently expanded into children’s content, announcing at TCA the orders of “Mr. Magoo,” “George of the Jungle” and “Lassie” reboots.
All Access’ kids-programming worldview — to draw in the children of subscribers, who are an average of 44 years old — may evolve now that it is under the newly reunified ViacomCBS banner.
“This is the beginning, and now with the merger of ViacomCBS, we may have an entirely different point of view,” said DeBevoise. “These deals were processed before the merger. We’re now at the point where the merger will help us refine our thinking about the kids strategy with the Nickelodeon brand. We can see what we have there.”
Attrition is in the single digits, similar to that of other premium streaming services, said DeBevoise.
“We’ve decreased churn each year since starting the service, so we feel really good about the trend line,” the ViacomCBS exec told the reporters and critics in the room.
Echoing many of his executive peers at other subscription video on-demand services, DeBevoise believes that the so-called streaming wars are not a zero-sum game. The launch of new services will not lead to negative impact on growth, and may in fact may help to grow the market overall, he said.
All Access ad revenue has grown in tandem with subscribers. Around two-thirds of subscribers have the limited-commercial version of the streamer, with the other third paying for the ad-free platform.
When asked about the impact of Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus and other new entrants to the streaming market have impacted CBS All Access, DeBevoise and All Access originals chief Julie McNamara were bullish on the appeal of the streamer, which includes both library and live streaming programming.
“The diversity of our service of the types of programming — the nature of live and on demand, library and current, different genres — I think that’s pretty unique,” said DeBevoise.
“It fundamentally comes down to the value proposition, the ecosystem you’re providing, and then [offering] shows people want to see badly enough that they come and find you,” added McNamara. “I think we’ve seen with other services, the kind of pro and con of how that works, and you’ve got to have the creative confidence and keep going out there with shows people want to see, and I do believe that most consumers out there will follow their hearts, to some extent, in terms of the content being really desirable for them.”
And amid SVODs that may angle for premium HBO-style programming, All Access is courting a broader audience.
“We have a strong sense and we have looked at data to inform our thinking of this,” said McNamara, later adding, “I think that does tap back to the brand of our corporation overall, that it’s not a dirty word to say that something is potentially going to be commercial.”