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CBS eyes ad-free SVOD, defends ‘boring TV’

US broadcaster CBS is planning a non-ad version of its subscription video service CBS All Access.

Les_Moonves“That’s absolutely something that we’re thinking about,” CBS Corp. president and CEO Les Moonves said on an earnings call with analysts yesterday in response to a question about the SVOD service.

“We’re charging US$5.99 right now for with ads and we’ve had discussions about, how about if we do a $9.99 with no ads? It’s a very possible thing for the future.”

CBS All Access launched in October 2014, and has been making headlines this week after it emerged a new Star Trek television series would be an original for the service.

Moonves said that besides the new Alex Kurtzman-helmed Star Trek project, CBS All Access would likely get more original programmes going forwards, having offered catalogue programming and new linear titles to this point. However, he said there were no plans for short-form original content.

Elsewhere in the call, Moonves defended CBS’s slate of procedural dramas, while also claiming the network was taking risks with series such as Supergirl, which skews younger than many other shows on the channel.

“[Regarding] our bread-and-butter, people say, ‘gee, you have too many procedurals’. Well, at a US$2 billion profit for both CSI and NCIS, I’ll take boring any day of the week.”

His comments echo those of FremantleMedia International CEO Jens Richter, who has voiced support for so-called “boring” television drama numerous times this year.

There are a lot of sexy shows that are really cool,” said Moonves. “They get great reviews that fail. We are experimenting a lot, but I don’t mind being known as the bread-and-butter network. We win that way.”