Star Trek Series To Lead CBS Into Streaming War Against Netflix

Star Trek is back as a TV show… sort of. CBS is making a new Star Trek series, but most of it will only be available on CBS’s All Access streaming platform. CBS execs say Star Trek‘s run will be an attempt to compete with Netflix, the current king of TV show streaming.

Netflix has been causing quite a panic among TV networks as of late, reports BDlive. It has recently stepped up its efforts to develop its own exclusive content, including movies and TV shows involving big-name actors and directors, while at the same time increasing the global availability of Netflix.

Star Trek on CBS is a Netflix counter
Netflix is really beginning to dominate the mobile streaming market everywhere. CBS wants to nip that trend in the bud. [Photo by PRNewsFoto/Virgin America]

Many networks, such as CBS, see the exponentially increasing popularity of Netflix as a threat to their own ratings. So, in order to stay current and compete with Netflix, says CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, CBS is making a great effort to make its own digital streaming platform, called “All Access,” a hit.

In order to increase its own popularity, CBS will follow Netflix’s lead in producing its own original content… starting with bringing back the Star Trek series.

Moonves is confident the new Star Trek saga will be in great demand for a few reasons. First, the show has secured an awesome showrunner: Bryan Fuller, veteran cult series director and big Star Trek fan. Second, the Star Trek brand has massive pop culture appeal — the Star Trek series that began in the 60s is still very popular and has been the inspiration for a religion and its own language.

Star Trek on CBS is a Netflix counter
"Trekkies," the name given to avid Star Trek fans, can be found all over the nation, and they are generally quite an enthusiastic group. [Photo by David Greedy/Getty Images]

Star Trek is for ‘All Access’ what House of Cards was to Netflix,” said Moonves.

In other words, he hopes Star Trek will prove to be popular enough among its viewers to where it attracts a sizeable amount of customers to CBS’s All Access service.

Forbes points out that, in order to make Star Trek as successful as Moonves would like, CBS would be well advised to handle the show’s production with the mindset of an instant streaming service, not a TV network.

“CBS might need to emulate some of the other things about House of Cards that made it a success. Great cast, instant availability of all the episodes and an incredibly story arc (sic) are all things that broadcast TV consistently fails with, and streaming services have proved expert at utilizing.”

CBS will also have to rethink other parts of its business plan as it wanders further into the world of online streaming; most notably, its relation to advertisers and other revenue sources.

“When I started this job 20 years ago, advertising was everything to this company,” noted Moonves. “Advertising will still remain important, but it’s not nearly as important as some of these new ways of getting revenue, such as interactive.”

Mr. Moonves also stressed the fact that CBS has a lot riding on the success of Star Trek.

He said that the network had engaged in talks with more established streaming services, like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, about selling the rights to the Star Trek franchise. CBS could have raked in a “pretty nice profit” by selling, says Moonves, but the company decided in the end to invest in its future by keeping the rights for its own streaming platform.

Star Trek on CBS is a Netflix counter
Star Trek has been a booming business for over 50 years. [Photo By Getty Images]

CBS plans to air Star Trek on its television network for the show’s first few episodes before restricting access to its All Access streaming platform, the network revealed in a statement last year. This is presumably a ploy to hook viewers, both Star Trek fans and otherwise, and persuade them to subscribe to “All Access” once that is the only place they can continue watching the show.

All things considered, the coming of the new Star Trek series and the ensuing move away from TV and towards streaming programming could mean a new age for CBS.

[Photo by Getty Images]