CBS has announced plans to offer a standalone streaming service called CBS All Access. The subscription-based service will allow subscribers to watch live television as well as thousands of new and past hit shows on-demand without having to pay for a cable subscription.
The traditional television model is changing faster than most anticipated.
The $5.99 per month service does carry a few restrictions. While CBS is making current primetime shows available, they’ll only show up on the service the day after they air. What’s more, live streaming of local CBS content is only being offered in the following 14 US markets at launch: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
Based on the wording used in the press release, it sounds as though subscribers will have to contend with advertising in all instances except when watching CBS Classics like Star Trek, Cheers, MacGuyver and Twin Peaks.
Worse yet, coverage of sporting events like the NFL are not available for live streaming through CBS All Access. And let’s not forget that we’re talking about CBS – a network that is available over-the-air for free with an antenna. Why would anyone want to pay for something that is already free?
One word: convenience. Being able to access content online from your smartphone or tablet grants a wealth of freedom regarding how, when and where we consume media.
The announcement comes just one day after Time Warner-owned HBO revealed plans to offer a similar standalone service for its content. And with Aereo currently sidelined, I suspect we’ll see similar moves by other major networks in the coming weeks and months.