Looking to push its new digital OTT brand to greater awareness, CBS will run a new “Star Trek” TV series exclusively on its CBS All Access digital platform -- with the exception of the premiere episode, which which will air on its broadcast channel.
You can’t ask for a better marketing tease than that -- and have to believe it's better than the other way around: teasing a new TV series on, say, Yahoo -- only to run the series on CBS.
You might ask why CBS doesn’t just run the show on its own network airwaves, where it can get bigger TV advertising revenues.
Perhaps “Star Trek” -- while valuable -- isn’t the right fit for CBS’ mostly older-skewing, more female audience.
Besides a strong debut for “Supergirl,” CBS, at the moment, isn’t the action-adventure network to much of a degree. That said, TV broadcast network executives will still tell you they want to appeal to the widest possible number of viewers.
During its third quarter earnings call on Tuesday, CBS President/CEO Les Moonves called the “Star Trek” franchise sort of the “family jewels.” He said strong early reception for international sales of the new series will give CBS a good financial head start.
Still, taking one of the most iconic of TV franchises from CBS’ Paramount Television library -- which ended in the mid-1990s after five different TV series, and 12 different theatrical movies, the most recent coming in 2013 -- is a risky move.
Is the timing right for another long-term “Trek” entertainment property? There is still some breathing room, since it won’t get up and running until 2017.
This new “Trek” will mimic a similar effort of “Star Trek: Voyager,” which helped launch the UPN mini-broadcast network in 1995, which ran until 2001. (One other bit of history: “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was supposed to help start up the Fox network in 1986. Instead it went into first-run syndication in 1987).
For CBS All Access, it’s about putting a face on the business. In quoting a journalist, Moonves says the loyalty of fans for the TV franchise will mean a lot: “Because of ‘Star Trek’, people will know what All Access is all about.”