CBS launching an online subscription video service that will feature both current and classic programming as well as a live stream of its broadcast network.
The platform, called CBS All Access, is making its debut Thursday at a price of $5.99 a month. Unlike many other online offerings from broadcast and cable networks, an existing subscription to a pay-TV distributor isn’t required to view content on CBS All Access.
The CBS service is somewhat similar to Hulu, the video platform jointly owned by 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney Co. and Comcast Corp., which are the parent companies of Fox, ABC and NBC, respectively. Hulu has both a free service and a subscription option called Hulu Plus, which has about 8 million subscribers and costs $7.99 a month.
The difference is that CBS All Access also has a live stream of the network as part of its offering. ABC has a similar service called Watch ABC that lets viewers get a linear feed of the network on their phones and tablets. Unlike All Access, Watch ABC is available to anyone with an existing subscription to a pay-TV service.
“We hope to accomplish that before too long,” Mr. Moonves said.
The live stream of the CBS network will initially only be available in the 14 markets where the company owns TV stations, which includes New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. CBS is talking with its broadcast affiliates in other cities about participating in All Access.
CBS said episodes of current shows will be available on All Access 24 hours after their initial airing on the network.
While all episodes of current CBS shows available on All Access will have commercials, older programs such as “Star Trek” and “Cheers” will be commercial free.
All Access will have more than 5,000 episodes from the show’s library. Mr. DeBevoise didn’t rule out eventually creating original content for the platform.
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