Hot on the heels of the announcement of HBO’s latest streaming service HBO Now, CBS has thrown its hat into the OTT ring.
In his presentation at the Deutsche Bank 2015 Media, Internet & Telecom Conference earlier today, CBS Corporation president and CEO Les Moonves said pay-TV net Showtime is planning to launch an OTT service.
“I’m frankly very excited about HBO’s announcement yesterday (March 9) with Apple,” said Moonves. “I think that only leads to good things and a good future prospect for Showtime as we go down the road. So you’re going to see similar announcements from us in the upcoming months.
“It is fairly significant because OTT is something that is on everybody’s mind, both at the network and at the premium cable network as well. We’re entering into a new age and I think CBS is certainly ready for it, if not at the forefront of that. So we’re excited.”
Moonves went on to say that CBS has already has already held distribution talks regarding its future OTT product with existing partners and the digital outlets currently in the market.
“Obviously there was a lot more noise yesterday (March 10),” said Moonves. “Because as we’ve begun these negotiations, the MVPDs were a little skeptical. Is it going to hurt their business? How is it going to affect their business? The digital players obviously were all very interested in it.”
He also remarked on HBO Now’s terms of distribution. “I found it interesting after-the-fact that the exclusivity is only for 90 days,” Moonves noted. “And it doesn’t include the current cable or phone or satellite partners. So it really is a pretty open field for them.”
Moonves did not announce an exact date for the Showtime launch, but said it would be coming soon.
“I think now the floodgate’s open,” he said. “We got a number of calls yesterday from both existing players and digital players that we have talked to in the past, so I think you’ll see the Showtime offering out there in the not-too-distant future.”
Moonves added that there’s been “a little bit of consternation from the existing MVPDs,” but concluded the move to an OTT service will be resoundingly positive for both HBO and Showtime. “There’s just going to be more revenue. Both companies put out a truly amazing product… HBO went off and monetized Game Of Thrones, which is obviously going to be a large event. But the content we have at Showtime also is premium.”
Pictured: Showtime’s Nurse Jackie.