After two, or is it three, aborted premier dates, Star Trek Discovery will finally premiere on the CBS network on September 24th (a Sunday) at 8:30PM Eastern Time / 7:30PM Central Time.
The first show will air on the CBS network and, as we all now know, all subsequent episodes will air behind the paywall that is CBS All Access, at least in the USA. If you're elsewhere in the world, and have Netflix, you can watch the series there.
From a business perspective, this probably looks like a smart move. Get people hooked on the series with a loss-leader episode and suck them into an ongoing subscription model. Les Moonves eyes (head of CBS) will be positively rolling at the thought of all that moolah rolling in.
Moonves recently defended the decision to put Discovery on the All Access streaming service (which costs $5.99/month to subscribe) versus airing it on CBS: “There are millions and millions of Trekkies out there. We know for a fact that the other versions of Star Trek… all did really well on Netflix. That gave us great confidence that this was the right choice to put the full-court press on All Access.”
From the fans' perspective, it's a total F.U. We, who have supported CBS to the tune of $20 million per year by buying Trek merchandise get this lovely thank you from that network.
The second episode will be available the same night as the premiere (presumably this applies to Netflix viewers as well as CBS All Access subscribers).
Discovery will have 15 episodes and airing will follow The Walking Dead model, with the first eight episodes running in the fall (through Sunday, Nov. 5) and the final seven episodes airing in the winter (beginning in January 2018).
Why can't networks in the USA just air a full unbroken season of a show? That way people don't lose interest and forget about a show during its down time.
It will be interesting to see what the uptake of CBS All Access really turns out to be. After all, people will be signing up (or not) for just one TV series.
I suspect that this business model won't be a dismal failure. Enough people will sign up to make it viable. But it won't be a spectacular success either. Not enough people will sign up to flood those expectant coffers.
Whether pirate downloads of Star Trek Discovery will outnumber those for Game of Thrones remains to be seen.
But if Discovery doesn't bring in the wodges of cash that Moonves and his sycophantic cronies are anticipating, the new series is likely to be aborted after season one.
In that scenario, maybe Netflix would take it on (as should have happened in the first place since they provided so much of the series' funding) and we'll get a series that's more in keeping with the look and ethos of The Original Series.
So what's your prediction for 1) how successful and well-received the new series will be and 2) how successful it will be (in business terms) for CBS All Access?
Filed under: Star Trek Discovery