Despite being built around a broadcast TV network, CBS has, in the last few years, been among the most aggressive traditional media companies when it comes to investing in streaming video.
The company has launched a pair of subscription services in CBS All Access and Showtime and has launched a pair of free, ad-supported streaming services in CBSN and CBS Sports HQ. A third is built around the “Entertainment Tonight” franchise launching later this year.
Now, with the abrupt departure of CBS CEO Les Moonves amid an investigation into sexual harassment, the future of the company’s strategy is unsettled.
Will the new leadership agree with the priorities of the ousted executive?
So far, it appears so. Interim CEO Joe Ianniello was Moonves’ deputy, serving as COO, and a note he sent to CBS staff on Monday suggests that streaming will remain a key part of the company’s business, at least as long as he is in charge.
Ianniello called out the CBS and Showtime streaming services, before adding:
“The strength and evolution of all of these businesses has led us to where we are today — a global premium content powerhouse,” he wrote. “Time and again, we have developed and executed strategies that capitalize on our unique and advantageous position, and what’s most exciting is that we are still in the early innings of that process.”
"Looking ahead, as consumption continues to evolve, so will we. But content will always be at the core of our company,” he added.
Streaming is only going to increase in importance for CBS’ business. The company said last month that it would hit a combined 8 million subscribers between CBS All Access and Showtime by 2019, a year earlier than originally anticipated. The company now expects to have 16 million subscribers by 2022, double its original plan.
Whether Ianniello stays on as CEO on a permanent basis (at least until any potential merger or acquisition), ostreaming will be top of mind.