Monday, November 02, 2015

Stream Trek

Today CBS announced that Star Trek will return to television in January 2017. You would think that I'd be thrilled, and I was - until I discovered the distribution model. The first episode of the new series will be broadcast on CBS, but all further episodes will be available only via CBS' proprietary streaming service.

I understand why CBS is doing this - they're trying to compete with Netflix, just like everyone else, and they think making Star Trek exclusive to CBS All Access will get them millions of new subscribers. Personally I think the move will spark a pretty huge fan backlash, but we'll see.

Lovers of television as an art form now have to wonder if the looming death of broadcast cable will really be the boon some of us imagined. Already there are two shows I'd be interested in that will require me to sign up for two different streaming services: Star Trek on CBS All Access and The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime. How long will it be before people are subscribing to five or six different services in order to see all the shows they like? It'll be like cable television all over again - pay for two hundred channels and watch half a dozen shows among them.

(Because I'm Canadian, it's a little more complicated; according to today's news, the CBS All Access deal is available only to people in the USA; international distribution is still being worked out. So Canadians might see the new show on Global or CTV or maybe even CBC.)

I'd be less disturbed if the new Star Trek were premiering on Netflix, mainly because their model is a little more consumer-friendly; the content isn't tied to any one particular network or studio.

In the end, of course, I'll just buy the Blu-Ray sets, assuming CBS releases the new show to physical media, which is no longer, sadly, a given.


1 comment:

susan_rn92 said...

Uhgh. I was not aware of the distribution model until you wrote about it. The whole thing makes me "botherated."