About the need to disrupt yourself, CBS-style
Last week, CBS COO Joseph Ianniello told the audience at a media conference, “We’re increasing investment in originals … You’re going to see six to seven originals on CBS All Access in the next 12 months.”
Mark Zuckerberg famously said, “If we don’t create the thing that kills Facebook, someone else will.”. Instead of treating CBS All Access as a dumping ground for its B content, there are signs that the service will have its own marquee titles. Making Star Trek: Discovery an exclusive to the service showed a bold commitment to its growth while demonstrating that CBS understands how to target an audience segment most likely to stream online. The TV network continues to pay the bills and CBS All Access continues to move up-market in parallel. It’s suddenly not hard to see a day in the not-to-distant future where the linear network cedes priority to All Access in a smooth changing of the guard transition for CBS corporate.
Original content is king, ownership defends against invaders
Originals. Originals. Originals. Netflix keeps increasing its originals budget with Amazon and Hulu following suit. What isn’t clear here is whether CBS will own these shows outright. Original, exclusive content is what brings in the audience and keeps them coming back. Ownership of that content allows a media company to control its own destiny.
Where are the other broadcasters?
Among the traditional big four broadcasters, CBS appears to be far out in the lead here. They are making the most noise in the industry to compete with the other OTT services. Even if it’s not profitable yet, they’re out there in-market testing what content works, how users behave and learning how to adapt to the new world. One of the key warnings from Clayton Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma is that all too often incumbents wait to compete with down-market disruptors until the business promises to be profitable. But by the time they enter the race, they have already lost. Are we seeing the beginning of the end of stalwarts like NBC and ABC?