Is CBS All Access Backfiring on CBS?




It looks like CBS is once again in a retransmission fee fight and this time with Mediacom; however, things seem to be different this time.

In the past if a cable or satellite company blocked out CBS the best hope you had was an antenna. Now with CBS All Access you can get live content in some markets and next day in others.

Now it looks like Mediacom is ready to just hand subscribers a $70 gift card for a free year of CBS All Access as a bargaining tool to push CBS to agree to a lower price.

“You could give subscribers a $70 gift card and a free year of CBS All Access,” said Mediacom spokesman Thomas Larsen, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, discussing potential operator blackout strategies.

But this may be what CBS wants as recently CBS CEO Moonves said, “we keep 100% of the dollars, so the more subscribers I get there, the better.”

“As All Access continues to grow, it demonstrates the value of what CBS brings to any size bundle,” CBS Chief Operating Officer Joseph Ianniello said. “And since distributors aren’t paying $6 a subscriber, we think it’s a fantastic value.”

So what we seem to be seeing here is a standoff and maybe the first serious crack in what has been a long-standing model. It may come to a point where the best day for CBS and Mediacom is to not carry CBS.

But that may backfire on CBS in the long run. If they wall their content off their potential growth will shrink as new viewers don’t find CBS content in a growing list of great shows and movies.

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