‘Star Trek: Discovery’ To Be Available Ad-Free On CBS All Access: Will It Be Enough To Attract More Viewers?

Promo image for Star Trek: Discovery. [Image via CBS]

The upcoming Star Trek: Discovery will be available with an ad-free option on the streaming service CBS All Access, reports Birth Movies Death. Writer Evan Saathoff is concerned about the fine print. He notes that the CBS All Access website says “select shows have promotional interruptions.” It is unclear at this time if Star Trek: Discovery is one of the programs that would have this limited advertising.

Saathoff likely speaks for many fans when he writes, “All I want to do is watch some Star Trek in peace.” He is also concerned about the pricing.

“The only other show I can imagine watching on the service is more Star Trek. It’s already kind of a high price for just one show.”

A screenshot of the CBS All Access website. [Image via CBS]
Saathoff continues, noting he is not always opposed to commercials.

“…it’s unrealistic to expect a world of entertainment for free, even though some of you still have those expectations. I’m fine with commercials in general. In fact, there’s a nostalgic quality to how they space out shows that I occasionally enjoy. The problems I’ve experienced with streaming services like Hulu, however, involve seeing the same one or two commercials during each break and/or having the commercials refuse to load or crash my browser. The latter problem is especially troublesome.”

In an editorial for TrekMovie, writer Kayla Iacovino, unfortunately, confirms some of Saathoff’s worries. She found “less than stellar audio and video compression” in her trials of the service, but notes “both of these things are easily fixable before Discovery‘s January 2017 premiere date.”

There has been growing concern and frustration among some Star Trek fans about Star Trek: Discovery‘s exclusivity to the CBS All Access streaming service. Many were unhappy about the lack of an ad-free option, and it remains to be seen how many will be satisfied now that one has been announced. Some feel that Star Trek is being used as a loss leader to establish CBS All Access in the streaming marketplace, with limited commitment to the show itself by CBS execs.

On a thread about the ad-free announcement on the Star Trek subreddit, user Willravel notes that CBS All Access will have an uphill battle to gain large amounts of subscribers, since Star Trek: Discovery will be the only major original programming available exclusively on the service at the moment.

“CBS All Access is absolutely tiny compared to where Netflix was when they launched their first original programming. CBS claimed that they had a little over 100,000 subscribers back in 2015… Netflix had about 36 million subscribers in February of 2013, when House of Cards debuted. And it’s no surprise why: in 2013, Netflix had been around for well over a decade and had well over 100,000 titles in their library. CBS All Access currently has a library of, what, hundreds? And the most popular of those are available on other streaming services.

“CBS is making a foolish, impatient gamble and the chip they’re betting is the future of Star Trek. They should build up a better library to attract viewers, invest in quality service, wait until they have millions of subscribers, and then test the waters with a series that gets people’s attentions on its own merits.”

There are plans in place to expand CBS All Access exclusive content beyond Star Trek: Discovery. A spin-off of the popular CBS broadcast series The Good Wife has been announced.

Iacovino notes there can be some benefits to Star Trek: Discovery being exclusive to CBS All Access. “While CBS is still running the show, they don’t have to appease the censors to the same degree and so may be more forgiving when it comes to content — and even characters — typically considered too racy for Prime Time.”

Indeed, there does appear to be more creative freedom than in previous iterations of the long-running show. Star Trek: Discovery will be a brand new venture for the franchise in those terms. It takes the modern TV storytelling approach of limited episodes (only 13 for this first season) and a serialized plot.

Details on the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery. [Image via TrekMovie.com]
An emphasis has been placed on diversity, with a female lead and a gay character to be included in the cast, along with aliens and robots. It is quite possible that such a degree of unique characters is possible due to the lack of broadcast network censorship and restrictions.

Star Trek: Discovery is set to premiere on CBS All Access in January of 2017, with a special preview on CBS broadcast television earlier that month.

[Image via CBS]