Next TV Summit 2017: CBS All Access, CBSN Help Network Reach Young Audience, Says Debevoise

CBS All Access allows the network to go deeper into its scripted storylines, said Marc Debevoise, president/COO of CBS Interactive, and create programming that is perhaps more in line with what’s being offered on streaming platforms and cable.

During a keynote at the Next TV Summit, part of NYC Television Week, Debevoise spoke of intensely serialized storytelling on CBS All Access, whose originals include The Good Fight and Star Trek: Discovery.

Read More: Complete Coverage of NYC Television Week

“We’re scratching deeper and deeper into those characters,” he said.

Debevoise was interviewed by Elaine Quijano, a CBSN anchor.

He identified cable networks AMC and FX as being peers in terms of originals. “We have advertising—we’re not all the way to the HBOs and Showtimes of the world,” he said.

CBS All Access and CBSN are helping the network reach a significantly younger audience. All Access’ average viewer is 43, and CBSN’s is 38. “We figured out that millennials want news,” he said. “They just want it in a different way.”

CBS will launch an OTT product dedicated to sports and news. Debevoise didn’t provide specifics, but said the launch is coming soon.

Three quarters of CBSN viewership is live, he said. “A ton of people came live,” said Debevoise, “and that was really key.”

Documentaries on CBSN, he added, give CBS news professionals “a little more breathing room” to tell a timely story.

Read More: Complete Coverage of the Next TV Summit

For CBS All Access, an upcoming launch is the comedy No Activity, from Funny or Die. “Those guys are great comedians,” he said of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. “They know how to write, how to shoot, how to make things incredibly funny.”

CBS All Access costs $5.99 monthly. The Good Wife spinoff The Good Fight and Star Trek: Discovery, he said, have All Access’ originals strategy off to a strong start, and have driven subscriptions significantly. Of Trek, he said, “The reaction has been incredible. People love it, they hate it, they love to love it, they love to hate it.”

He credited the CBS broadcast network for helping the shows launch. “We happen to own the largest sampling platform,” said Debevoise. “We’re gonna use it when we can.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.