CBS thinks that it can sell a direct OTT service like HBO or Neftlfix. They can’t.
We know what we get with HBO. Do we know what CBS stands for? Do we even remember what shows are on the network?
The dying broadcast model had them fill 24hrs a day with programming and the result was and still is full of ‘filler’.
HBO, Showtime, Netflix and others born of the pay-per-view era share the on-demand experience we expect today. It is in their DNA.
To survive, HBO developed exclusive on-demand programming & powerful brands strongly associated with their HBO MasterBrand.
CBS along with the other traditional networks built a business by being all things to all people, but this goes against building a strong MasterBrand and they have lost their Brand Value. We cannot even remember what shows are on what networks. When you think of Brands like, HBO, Showtime or Netflix, unlike the traditional networks like CBS, a specific flavor of content comes to mind.
Live is less relevant
How much of what we watch today is live? And of those things that we do, are we better off getting it elsewhere?
News, a former staple of a Traditional Network, is now delivered to us immediately, 24/7 and in better quality via digital channels. Broadcast news is light at best and rating trends show digital newcomers like Vice create content that is more relevant to upcoming generations.
Weather is endearing on a network only for their lovable weatherman and for the traditional break within the old news broadcast, but this is not where we look for our weather. Like the news, we have better and more immediate resources that can deliver more accurate and timely information right to our smartphones.
Sports must be seen live. CBS’s current OTT service does NOT include NFL games! Why? because the NFL knows it can do better elsewhere or on its own. I expect major sports leagues to start broadcasting their games direct to consumer. Look at recent stats for people watching the World Cup or USOpen directly from the organizations website or app. The last World Cup was the largest event to be streamed directly online.
Out of all the content on the traditional networks, the only piece of Brand Equity that they may currently own is in their Morning Shows but that is hardly enough to justify subscribing to their OTT broadcast.
Why pay for something that is already free?
Did we forget that broadcast signals are free? CBS is trying to sell us something that we forget we can get for free with an HD antenna connected to our TV.
Advertising vs. Subscriptions
While HBO will most likely pick up many subscribers for their OTT service, we may prefer to receive CBS for free while we continue to watch advertising.
I cannot see why anyone would be happy to pay for CBS and still be forced to watch the advertising they continue to deliver with OTT service…it makes no sense.
ShowRunners now have the opportunity to go consumer direct
The networks do have some fabulous content, but they are sandwiched between a lot of junk and the networks are about to fumble. Just like HBO unbundled itself from cable, it is possible to see that the top content owners may choose to separate themselves from Network Channels for the opportunity to go consumer direct. Most of us follow a handful of shows each. We subscribe to/pay for the networks and cable providers just to see those shows we love, but are also paying for all of the other content we don’t watch. Doesn’t it make sense to be able to have the choice of just paying for the shows you watch on an a-la-carte basis? Absolutely!
When it comes to OTT, you cannot compare a Traditional Network Brand like CBS to a Premium Content Brand like HBO.
The unbundling of cable may very well be followed by the unbundling of the networks.