TCA 2019: CBS All Access Aims for Dozen Originals in 2020

CBS All Access is shooting for at least 12 total original series next year, including the Star Trek series Picard. Marc DeBevoise, president and chief operating office of CBS Interactive, said the number could be higher.

The increasingly crowded OTT landscape is a good thing for CBS All Access, said DeBevoise. The new players, including Disney+, mean greater growth for the whole SVOD segment, and the entrants have to go through the learning pains that All Access, which launched in 2014, has gone through.

“In other words, we don’t think it’s zero sum,” he said.

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DeBevoise predicted 25 million subscribers for CBS All Access and Showtime combined by the end of 2022. He noted how 80% of consumers have an SVOD service, and the typical one has 3.4 different subscriptions. “There’s plenty of room for us to grow,” he said.

Original productions include upcoming documentary Console Wars, on the Nintendo versus Sega battle in the '90s, and the series Why Women Kill, with Lucy Liu and Ginnifer Goodwin, and Tell Me a Story, from Kevin Williamson.

DeBevoise said original series are a “tremendous driver” for All Access.

All Access has acquired past-season streaming rights for the new CW series Nancy Drew.

DeBevoise said CBS All Access is keen to get more into sports. “We intend to look more and more into this space,” he said.

Julie McNamara, executive VP of original content, teased the All Access Star Trek franchise, which includes Discovery (season three comes out next year), animated Lower Decks and Picard, which premieres early in 2020. “Excitement is truly at a fever pitch for this show,” she said of Picard.

DeBevoise talked up news platform CBSN, which sees users average 80 minutes per live session, and All Access live specials and library episodes. CBS All Access’ 12,000 episodes represent “a tremendous value proposition for consumers.”

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.