While the continuing decline of traditional pay-TV services like cable and satellite continue to affect the bottom line of major players, like Comcast Cable and DISH Network, it is also having a lasting effect on something a little closer to the hearts of many viewers—local stations. CBS continues to fight against this in their latest deal designed to highlight local stations on their over-the-top (OTT) All Access streaming service.
The new deal, announced on May 11, 2017, involves 13 different affiliate station groups who will all provide live-streaming of various local channels. According to Variety, this new deal will bring live local programming of CBS All Access to 64% of U.S. households, spanning 94 total markets.
The 13 new affiliate partners, who are adding their feeds to All Access over the next several weeks are: Bahakel Communications, Block Communications, Capitol Broadcasting, Cox Media Group, Draper Holdings, Ft. Myers Broadcasting, Griffin Communications, Meridian Media, Midwest Television, Mt. Mansfield Television, News-Press & Gazette Company, Schurz Communications and West Virginia Media Holdings.
CBS rivals ABC and NBC have already announced similar deals with their services. This means that most consumers now have access to local and regional programming via these major channels.
CBS’ All Access is only $6 a month for limited commercials and $10 a month for a commercial-free experience. It is important to note that CBS is the only major broadcaster with its own streaming platform. This deal makes that platform considerably more valuable moving forward. In fact, CBS has already said that they expect this deal to yield “…additional revenue possibilities for all.” This revenue will likely come in the form of increased ad revenue and distribution deals.
This new deal also allows CBS to expand its distribution to new platforms, which has always been a part of CBS’ long-term digital strategy. Previous to this, CBS only had a deal with Playstation Vue for streaming distribution that only applied to certain affiliates. This new deal expands on the platforms on which All Access content is available to include newer spaces like Hulu and YouTube TV. According to Engadget, the deal also includes language that makes it possible for affiliates to stream on “future new entrant over-the-top platforms”. Though it does not specifically name what any of those platforms may be.
CBS’ current All Access offerings include episodes from a show’s current season, including full current seasons of 19 different programs with episodes available the day after they air. This new deal makes All Access a lot more valuable with the addition of all this local television content. Just how valuable will depend on the public reception as well as the amount of ad revenue CBS is able to bring with these new services.