Why CBS's New Star Trek Show Is a Glimpse Into TV's Future

On Monday, CBS announced that it will shepherd a new Star Trek series to the airwaves. Well, only temporarily. The new Trek, executive produced by J.J. Abrams' Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness producer/writer Alex Kurtzman and Limitless executive producer Heather Kadin, will initially debut on CBS television in early 2017, before transitioning to CBS's on-demand streaming service, CBS All Access. (Important reminder that TV.com and CBS are owned by the same megacorporation, CBS Corp.) 

Trekkers and common Twitter folk alike have been rightfully mixed on the potential of a new series made by one half of the team that has struggled in attempting to make Trek a contemporary blockbuster cash-generating machine, but there's plenty of time to share our concerns about how the genius behind Cowboys and Aliens will or will not ruin one of the great television franchises. Instead, we should concentrate on the CBS All Access portion of this story, which may seem like a frustrating wrinkle right now but actually opens up a portal to the very near future of television production and distribution.

In case you're unaware, All Access is CBS's answer to Netflix, Hulu, and everything else in the increasingly competitive streaming marketplace. For a comparatively cheap $5.99/month, All Access offers customers next-day access to many—but not all, sorry Big Bang Theory fans—of CBS's current shows, along with a solid library of older offerings, including SurvivorI Love LucyThe Twilight Zone, and, yes, previous entrants in the Trek franchise. Although CBS head honcho Les Moonves claimed earlier this year that All Access has over 100,000 subscribers, the service hasn't produced much buzz among fans or industry folk. 

On one hand, this move clearly aims to change that, with a popular but admittedly aging franchise that hasn't aired new episodes since Enterprise limped to the finish line on UPN in 2005 after four seasons. Despite Trek's longstanding permeance in pop culture, there's no guarantee that the enthusiasm is present to the degree that it's worth siloing the new show onto a digital platform that very few people (relatively speaking) care about as it stands in November 2015. Even the second film reimagining sagged at the box office thanks to a terribly secretive and just plain terrible marketing campaign and an insufferable amount of 9/11 imagery. 

On the other hand, CBS is simply following the exact same model set forth by Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and even Crackle in the online streaming marketplace: exclusive, original content is king. Exclusive programming has been identified as the way to cut through the clutter and gain new subscribers. It's what provides that brand recognition that all streaming platforms, just like all networks and channels, are desperate to have. The big three of streaming content have all dipped toes in the franchise pool—Netflix has the Marvel series, Amazon is banking on that Philip K. Dick admiration for The Man in the High Castle, and Hulu has the upcoming Stephen King joint 11/22/63—but none of those quite measure up to the potential appeal of a good Star Trek show. If you're trying to get people to subscribe to your service, creating demand with a known quantity is an effective strategy, and one that didn't start with Netflix. It's the backbone of what premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime have been doing for decades. 

More importantly, the Trek/All Access plan isn't just about brand value or buzz; it's about competing for those things in a world where the number of streaming platform options is always on the rise (miss you already, Yahoo Screen), and studios are charging more and more for the rights to library content. The truth is, sooner rather than later, every network and channel is going to offer its own streaming or on-demand service, flush with exclusive programming that you can't get anywhere else. The kind of content aggregation offered by Netflix or Hulu or Amazon simply won't exist in five years, as each network and studio gets further paranoid about losing out on potential chunks of revenue from direct subscription plans in some form. 

The current streaming players already know this. Netflix is happy if you pay to watch Breaking Bad or The Vampire Diaries, but it hopes that you check out Narcos and Master of None too, because eventually, those first two things are going to be too expensive to continue to offer and all that will be left is a bunch of scraps and triple the number of Netflix originals. 

Right now, the Netflixes of the world are trying to become more like HBO, and vice versa. The broadcast networks, led by CBS, clearly aren't that far behind. Broadcasters are the most affected by the current on-demand, all-access environment, and before long, the declining Nielsen ratings and ad revenue will be too much and small bastions of hope like megahit Empire fewer and farther between. It'll be time to horde that programming behind a different kind of paywall. Everybody will have their own streaming services or apps full of programming you can't get anywhere else. Suddenly, those exorbitant cable bills won't seem so crazy!   

Again, if you're CBS and you see this all coming around the bend, there aren't too many franchises that you can at least hope might guide you into the next era of streaming television. Star Trek is probably one of them. Combine this with the fact that ratings won't matter in a more fully subscription-centric landscape and suddenly the problem of producing a science-fiction show about progress and exploration on mainstream American television doesn't feel like that much of a challenge. 

The grumbling about Trek on All Access makes sense, but it's frankly another example of Moonves and CBS recognizing the shifts in the marketplace and trying to do something about it. CBS famously chose not to join the other networks in the plan to build Hulu into a streaming hub, instead charting its own course elsewhere on the web. That's happening again, only CBS is ahead of the curve this time. Ultimately then, this new Star Trek series is still more than a year away, but with it comes the future of television. 

Do you think the Star Trek deal is a sign of things to come? Or is it just a desperate ploy to jumpstart a streaming service?


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Jan 21, 2018
Then after all the waiting everybody was treated to a hot pile of complete garbage...  Turns out Seth McFarlane knows how to make a better Star Trek style TV show than the people who make the real Star Trek TV show...
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Oct 26, 2016
Well I'm just as concerned with anyone involved with Cowboys and Aliens or the new Trek movies having anything to do with a Star Trek series as I am with CBS's next bad decision. Because we seem to be on the cusp of another one of those.

CBS is great at making TV for old people, half their shows are revivals and for the most part the rest are not what I would call interesting or daring, what they are is just unoffensive.

It is hard to expect a station that brings us, for the most part, bland TV to be going boldly where none have before. Let's face it, aside from a few shining moments, like BrainDead or Life in Pieces (which most of us probably had to really convince our friends to watch once they learned what station is was on), CBS is the station of, and for, old people... lets just go over their schedule, shall we:
-Survivor
-NCIS
-Big Bang Theory
-MacGyver
-Hawaii Five-O
-Blue Bloods
-Kevin Can Wait
-2 Broke Girls
-The Odd Couple

Admittedly I watch The Odd Couple and Madame Secretary but I've been an old man at heart since I was like 10 yrs old.

CBS holds the record on middling shows, shows that people leave on to have noise in the background and series that those over the age of 30 watch. I fear that this series will be a re-hash of TOS with prettier people or worse a rehash of the new films... with, uh-well, similarly pretty people.

I think the former might work for the people who watch LIVE TV and the ladder might work for some of us who watch online but unless both production company and station really try to get out of their stale wheelhouse this will not work.

Real Trekkies (or ers depending on your preference) do not want the movie versions on the tele and new Trek movie fans will most likely not be interested in a series like the movie because it will be totally impossible to capture that kind of mindless adventure fun episodically.

While I did enjoy the series Limitless (surprise-surprise) CBS clearly didn't have the confidence in it which it should have had. After all this was a series which could have actually brought modern viewers to them.

If they perceive that series as a failure (which they must) what will that type of old school mentality force a new Trek series into? Yes, this seems like a car wreck waiting to happen.

Incidentally I tried using the CBS app once... I deleted it after 2 hours. If I want to see anything from CBS I use the On Demand feature of my cable box. Bust mostly I really don't care about CBS and I'm not the only modern viewer who feels that way.
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Oct 26, 2016
I will agree that CBS is not for a modern viewership but I have enjoyed most television series Bad Robot has been involved with. I fear more that CBS won't know what to do with a series like Star Trek than anything else.
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Oct 26, 2016
I don't disagree with that, I like Alias (for the most part) as well as Lost, Fringe, Almost Human and am now watching their rehash of Westworld. But their TV is somewhat different than their Movies and that joy ride mentality might not translate as well.

Also I don't think Bad Robot is actually involved with it, I believe it is just few people who work with JJ Abrams in the past and one or two people who had been involved in the old Trek series.
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Oct 26, 2016
Interesting. Have these Abrams collaborators created their own production company? Or are they older well known companies?
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Nov 02, 2016
Here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_Discovery
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Nov 11, 2015
Its too early in the game to stream a show like Star Trek. For one thing, the Trek fan base has become huge and more importantly has become international. So locking down the show to streaming in select regions is a really stupid not to mention unprofitable move. Because it only encourages people to fire up a torrent client! CBS GET IT INTO YOUR THICK SKULLS!!! If you want to charge for Star Trek fine but roll it out worldwide because locking it down only feeds the pirates
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Nov 10, 2015
It's the next step to tailoring my choices to my needs. The cable companies never let us pick and choose what channels we could get, so this is the next best thing.

I've been trying to talk my husband into dropping cable and just having Netflix and Hulu (live sports is the dealbreaker). Now I'll have to include CBS All Access in the conversation, because we're not going without NCIS.
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Nov 07, 2015
I can't tell if All Access is the wave of the future or not, but so long as the new Trek series isn't set in the NuTrek universe, CBS will get my money to watch it!
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Nov 07, 2015


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Nov 07, 2015
CBS owns Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, woot woot finally streaming networks!
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Nov 07, 2015
I could fear that you are right, I know here in Denmark there is a cable company planing on starting a service where every channel is available but censored, and then after watching a channel for a while you can order it for a month for a fee. Their vision is to bringe it down to the minutes you are watching. If you see it through that vision there isn't far to just making a streaming service. So if you are right, one can at least hope they will make an scheme were you can choose 10 or so streaming services a month for a reasonable price.
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Nov 06, 2015
I think CBS is still not seeing what is coming. The torrenting audience is getting larger and more sophisticated each year. I know they would like consumers to pay all year long for just a handful of shows but that is a competitive and fleeting market. My suggestion would be to get as large a following as possible into some per-episode structure. Maybe with several cost options that can be decided for each viewing to set amount of commercials vs dollars spent. It could even be fun to have the numbers change in real time based on demand.
Hopefully for them they find something before a critical mass figures out how easy torrenting is....
I think things look very bleak for the networks
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Nov 05, 2015
I haven't watched network TV in years, so, i suppose i'm more likely to be a paying viewer this way? It actually DOES make sense. Sort of...
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Nov 05, 2015
I am not even going to consider it simple as.
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Nov 05, 2015
"For a comparatively cheap $5.99/month" compared to what, a six-story mansion?


I have a feeling most people who watch this will watch it on freetvvideoonline or whatever that site's called.
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Nov 04, 2015
Or you could, ya know, wait till the torrents are online....... not that i will be seen dead downloading star trek - but if people HAVE to pay to watch ANOTHER one of these shows - just download it - simples
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Nov 04, 2015
if I have to subscribe to another thing then I won't even bother watching it on tv.
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Nov 04, 2015
I was skeptical until I saw this...

http://deadline.com/2015/11/cbs-les-moonves-ad-sales-forecast-star-trek-1201605594/

Despite his enthusiasm for the ad business, Moonves says that he “absolutely” is considering the possibility of offering an ad-free version of All Access — much like one Hulu recently introduced. The ad supported CBS service costs $5.99 a month. “How about $9.99 with no ads? It’s very possible,” he says although he adds that “it’s still very early.”

If Moonves loses the ads, adds some decent content (why not fold Showtime into the CBS umbrella?) and charges ten bucks, this silly service might have a good chance of competing with the big boys. You'll come for Star Trek and stick around for Masters of Sex and Shameless. This could actually work.
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Nov 04, 2015
Even if this CBSAA thing had the best selection of stuff to watch in the history of streaming services, we would still be talking about shelling out a monthly fee of 6 bucks a month to be forced to endure commercials.

No matter how thin you slice it, that's nothing but insane.

How about $0.00 a month for ad supported service? It's not like the corporation couldn't afford it, even if they took a financial hit because of it.

Moonves alone has an annual salary of about 70 Million, so if CBS can afford to pay that kind of money to one guy in a single year, they can most definitely afford to offer an ad-supported online service for free, cause when a network says they loose money on something, all they really mean is simply that their profits decrease.

No sympathy.
No sale.
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Nov 04, 2015
cbs owned company and like on cnet... very edited talk on the subject
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Nov 04, 2015
last time I checked hulu+ also had a huge chunk of CBS' old shows. and you failed to mention that netflix saw less growth then it expected to. the likely cause? trading lots of older content for comparatively fewer original options. I've seen numbers of complaints about how that aren't even offering the full series of shows they once did but rather just select seasons which I experienced personally with better off ted (only season 1) and death in paradise (just the first few.)

charging more for less is a great way to promote piracy, just ask HBO!
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Nov 04, 2015
and it's cute that you're in here defending your view point, futility be damned!
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Nov 04, 2015
Will be on CBS All Access for a fee. Really? And who will be dumb enough to pay? CBS must already know it will be so bad that they will not be able to sell enough ads to cover the cost. The way that they have messed up the remakes of TV shows and movies does anyone feel it will be worth even over the air commercial support TV? This will be another remake that will be turned into a soap opera with a target fan base of Left Wing females and the feminized males who still live with their parents setting in front of the TV in their onesies. It will be more PC than sci-fi. And yes I know PC is no longer PC.
When Doctor Who return TV.com started a second page for the new show.In 2005 I did not agree with this feeling all Doctor Who fans should be together, Rather they were ans of the old show, the new show or both. Now seeing what they are doing to the shows in 2015 I hope the new Star Trek is placed in a page/forum of its own. The one movie I have seen has been bad enough. I can see CBS setting records for bad TV with this new Star Trek.
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Nov 04, 2015
You seem like the absolute worst
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Nov 06, 2015
Coming from some that's an honor. Thanks. Let me return the honor.
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Nov 07, 2015
Youre both unbearably ignorant
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Nov 08, 2015
Again thanks
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Nov 04, 2015
I was thinking about installing the CBS app to my iPhone to possibly catch up on certain shows, but most of the app reviews are terrible. Besides, I'm not a cord-cutter as I have a Time Warner Cable subscription, so I'd be paying extra for something I'm already paying a lot for. If CBS made this new ST available on cable TV, I MIGHT check it out. Maybe.
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Nov 04, 2015
comparatively cheap $5.99/month? I'd argue its comparatively expensive. The library is much smaller and you'll still have commercials.
I used a free trial of CBS All Access a year ago and it was the worst streaming app I've ever used. Constant buffering and horrible audio. I wonder who pays for this worthless service.
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Nov 04, 2015
100,000 people, apparently! Good pt about the ads.
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Nov 04, 2015
Was more curious about the demographic paying for it. As CBS skews to an older audience and streaming services skew to the younger audience. I don't personally know anyone using it.
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Nov 04, 2015
US population: 326,017,678

http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/us-population/
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Nov 04, 2015
"CBS All Access is only available in the United States"


Sooo.....How is this gonna work again??
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Nov 04, 2015
They'll license it overseas to whoever pays the most.
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Nov 03, 2015
It's cbs supergirl and this article in the cover right now and for the whole day, so that's why we might be feeling that the cracks in the wall are a little too visible lately regarding cbs.

In general terms, i think there are far too many online streaming services in the US as it is. A number of them are going down for sure. We are just starting here in my country.
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Nov 03, 2015
CBS should release it on Netfix and be done. Cord cutters are not going to purchase dozens of streaming apps and be back paying what we were with the cable companies. Place their new content on Netflix!!!
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Nov 04, 2015
Agreed, people will not subscribe to 10 different services just because they each have 2 or 3 good shows (well, I for one won't). But it's true that networks want their share of the off-broadcast profits, so we may see more and more of this kind of move. Who knows, perhaps they will fail and end up putting their stuff on Netflix.
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Nov 03, 2015

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Nov 03, 2015
While I completely understand your point about 'creating demand with a known quantity' as an effective strategy for online streaming services, I'm pretty sure Netflix is the exception in that is was already pretty successful before it dipped its toes in the franchise pool with Marvel properties.
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Nov 03, 2015
I'd like to think that this is CBS being 'ahead of the curve' and innovative but instead I think that CBS knows it can't do a Star Trek show on the mother station and so this is the only way they can continue to make money of the franchise. Basically this is just a byproduct of the f@#ked up Star Trek rights. Having the new show make or break what seems to be the worst streaming service around seems very unfair. If only they would sell the rights to a studio that could do it justice - i.e. basically anyone else.
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Nov 03, 2015
Remember that according to Data in Star Trek: TNG, television did not last much beyond the year 2040.
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Nov 04, 2015
The way ratings are going, broadcast won't last till the next Presidential election.
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Nov 03, 2015
Because broadcast was replaced by streaming, then there was a big war and everyone lost their Internet access. Then some guy built a ship with a warp engine. Then everyone got into warp ships and sat around watching movies from the 20th century.
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Nov 03, 2015
I love the various ST series (though I feel they really ruined a great opportunity with Enterprise). I HATED the Abrams Trek movies.

I have serious doubts this new series will last because:

1) I don't see them producing a compelling script or even a compelling world.

2) I don't see many people subscribing to CBS All Access just to watch it.

As others have mentioned, something like this needs to be on a streaming service with a much wider offering than only CBS shows.

I do, however, like the concept of TV Series moving to streaming, on-demand services. But, few people will subscribe to several services at once just to get the variety they want.
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Nov 03, 2015
Let me restate my Abrams comment:

I hated the Abrams Trek movies AS Trek movies. He could have told the same stories outside the Trek universe and they would have been enjoyable. But, when you take an original and change character personalities and re-write story lines, it's not really Trek, anymore, is it?
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Nov 08, 2015
I love you.
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Nov 03, 2015
The times they are a changin'. I find that, even with the past few dismal network seasons, there's still plenty of good stuff to watch. I was wary of the JJ stuff, but it was great. Nothing can ever diminish the classic-ness of Roddenberry's Trek...and Life goes on.
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Nov 03, 2015
I realy don't want to bring this up, but it's getting near impossible for me to view TV.com as inpartial, i could go on listing everyting that's wrong with the CBS all access streaming or how they charge allot for very little content compared to the (non)competition, but i'm going to bed instead.

I would just like to share this definition from dictionary.com for the word "propaganda", so you all can decide for yourselves if this is propaganda.

[prop-uh-gan-duh]
noun
1.
information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.
2.
the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.
3.
the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement.
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Nov 03, 2015
Think what you want, but

A.) I don't use CBS All Access at all
B.) I'm not a salaried staff member
C.) I don't say that CBS All Access is a GREAT service; it's cheaper, that's it.
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Nov 04, 2015
I'm not trying to belittle or attack you in any way, this is not about you this is about the article.

To me the article seems to be more about CBS All Access then about Star Trek, i wanted to read about why this startrek would be a glimps of the future.

To me those are two very different things.

I respect your opinion even if i don't share it on this occasion.
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Nov 03, 2015
I can say yes to a new Star Trek with all my heart.... but in what grounds?... what plot? in the new or the past timeline that we all loved?
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Nov 04, 2015
Well.. i would hate if it's in the new timeline... but... it's ST!... how can we resist to watch or not beeing excited about the news?. I'm in!.. even if i end up hating it!. xD
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Nov 03, 2015
So ... produced and written by the people who brought you the modern Star Trek, AKA the Hollywood Trek which missed the entire point of Roddenberry's vision, and told everyone that it didn't negate the original timeline? Yeah, no. No no no no.

If, as the news implies, this is set in the fake new timeline, then it DOES mean the death of the original timeline, because we'll never again see a show set in that timeline. Which is absolute bollocks. JJ might as well just produce a new Starship Troopers TV show, because that's what this will turn out like. And only the people who didn't understand the whole point of the original timeline (DS9, Next Gen, original series and Voyager all included) will like it.

Pass. And also, shove it up your anus JJ.
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Nov 04, 2015
Agree with everything but, come on, Starship Troopers was a lot of fun. The only similarity with the book is the title, but it's not a bad movie.
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Nov 04, 2015
But it's ST!... how can i say no?... a new show was the only reason to tolerate those disappointing movies on the ST universe :'(
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Nov 03, 2015
I will not pay more money to watch even a new Star Trek show. I already pay cable and netflix. If CNS cannot air it on TV-I am not interested. They would probably ruin it anyway. Pay another extra 5.99 or whatever? NO. It is manipulative and wrong.
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Nov 03, 2015
It's CBS, so I guess it will be a procedural.
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Nov 04, 2015
CSI: Space
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Nov 04, 2015
SheilaGirl-If I had not swallowed my tea before reading your comment it would have all come out of my nose. I will be laughing about this all night. Can't wait till the AM to say it to the spouse.
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Nov 03, 2015
"(Important reminder that TV.com and CBS are owned by the same megacorporation, CBS Corp.)"
And, of course, we can't forget CBS Corp is a subsidiary of LexCorp.
(Ha, ha! Sorry, tv.com friendly staff. Just a little joke to lighten the mood.)
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Nov 03, 2015
we are all owned by Evil Corp, don't you know!
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Nov 03, 2015
Ironic isn't it, that a show about money being surpassed and betterment and unity of all being sought is being placed as a cash cow!
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Nov 03, 2015
I hadn't even thought about that - but you're totally right!
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Nov 03, 2015
Keep this statement in mind: "Important reminder that TV.com and CBS are owned by the same megacorporation, CBS Corp." Also, when you get Netflix or Amazon Prime - you get access to LOTS of movies and tv shows of a wide variety - that can not be said about CBS streaming. It's a very narrow selection - and seems to me to be more about extorting Star Trek fans to promote their streaming platform. MAYBE it will work, but it won't work on me. I love Star Trek, but if I had to pay $5.99/mo to watch every show I liked, I'd be broke! This is not a good model and I for one do NOT think it is the future - and I certainly hope it is not! Sorry CBS - but you are not neither Netflix nor Amazon.
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Staff
Nov 03, 2015
Oh, that's EXACTLY what it is. But if you don't think it's a potential roadmap for the future, you haven't been paying attention.
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Nov 04, 2015
Put your handbag down, love.

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Nov 03, 2015
I am with you on this.
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Nov 03, 2015
Exactly. I laughed when I saw what CBS All Access had to offer, or not! The name is hilarious in it's irony. Who wants to pay to see James Corden later down the road - if at all. All they have to do is include none defeatable ads in their streaming to garner/hold advertisers in. Someone should suggest it to these clowns and forget the gauging fee.
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Nov 03, 2015
So after people, especially younger moved away from broadcast TV, every single network is going to develop their own streaming service, for which you have to pay?
Sure that is totally goign to work out and not fail at all. Im sure most people wont mind paying 60 dollars a month for the different streaming services....
I live in germany and we already have amazon prime, maxdome, netflix and a few other I dont even know because I dont watch those programs.
I wonder what executives are thinking.
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Nov 03, 2015
I really wish CBS shows were on Hulu. It's so much easier when all of your shows are in one place.
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Nov 03, 2015
This industry will fail over and over until they realize that the only way for them to get everybody to pay for their products as they want, and defeat piracy, is to create ONE global streaming service for ALL material ever produced in every country that wants to join. All tv, all movies, from all countries, accessible through all platforms. Computers, tv, pads, phones, tivos and what have you. With subtitles in all languages.

At a low price, both with a subscription alternative or pay per view. Or subscribe for tv shows and ppv for movies. Maximum five dollars a month for subscription, and 1-2 dollars to watch a movie. THAT would work, in time. i also honestly believe it would bring in more money than they do today. Make everything easily accessible, in the same place. They could rent space on facebooks or googles server infrastructure to provide bandwidth. They have plenty.
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Staff
Nov 03, 2015
You know that there are literally dozens of reasons why that would never happen though, right?
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Nov 04, 2015
Yes, there are many reasons it would never happen, but many of those reasons are actually just silly, based on pride and greed. There might be some more valid reasons as well though.

Still, despite the fact that it will never happen i still think that would be the only real solution to it and all other attempts are doomed to fail.
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Nov 03, 2015
Don't think of it as dozens of problems, think of it as dozens of solutions waiting to happen. :)
(Although that low level of pricing is way off the mark)
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Nov 04, 2015
You think the pricing is too low? Maybe. I was imagining like hundreds of millions of users though, something like that. So we would have something that pulls in billions of dollars monthly. Even with low prices.
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Nov 03, 2015
Yes yes yes.
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Nov 03, 2015
It was a while ago but there some music industry big wigs who admitted they screwed the pooch with Napster who offered to work with them to get some sort of all you can eat subscription model working. Instead Napster was shut and the music industry is still playing catch up.
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Nov 03, 2015
I did not know about that. Yes, they really made a big mistake there. That could have been huge.
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Nov 03, 2015
I have a feeling this won't work out very well, streaming.. not happening.. especially if we have to use CBS all-access exclusively, as much as I love Star Trek, I won't pay for that service.
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Nov 03, 2015
Agreed.
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Nov 03, 2015
Star Trek: NCIS :D
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Nov 03, 2015
Well Star Trek is sort of the navy of the future. But ugh.
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Nov 03, 2015
Maybe they are trying out new business model, but they forgot that Netflix was offering streaming content for years until they decided to try out producing the stuff. So, they had built in big audience from the start, this was added value
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Nov 03, 2015
If the promise of a weekly Star Trek show comes with so many strings attached, how are we to believe it'll make it beyond 13 episodes, or even 8 episodes since this is the new digital media where everything disappears overnight? How are we to trust that the corporate overlords will produce, support, and trust a quality show when at the outset so few will have access and even fewer will watch?

Cory, your final question actually sparked another thought for me: Trek is supposed to reach a lot of people, it's easy to pander to us Trekkies but we're already a niche audience and niche audiences don't grow franchises, they shrink 'em. Trek's TOS and TNG grabbed an entire culture, they had huge influence on a vast group of viewers; digital subscription has no such reach and likely never will, especially as long as we keep splintering content across countless services and outlets. There are fans making TV- and even Movie-quality Star Trek shows right now, non-profit and they're largely fantastic, yet they only get viewed by die-hards, they have no reach. I don't see CBS All Access' Star Trek doing anything more than that, except it won't be driven by passion and love for the premise.

That "the genius behind Cowboys and Aliens" bit is tongue-in-cheek, right? C&A was meh, ok in theory but struggling to be good. He's also part of the "genius" behind Transformers 1 and 2, Amazing Spider-Man 2, New Coke Star Trek and Star Trek Into Dumbness. He and Orci even called themselves limited and hacky back in '09, which I thought was refreshing (the audience was kissing their asses over Transformers and New Coke Trek 1, they were being humble yet self-aware).

New Coke Trek has done a great job getting asses in seats holding overpriced buckets of popcorn, but it's entirely failed to actually inspire any of its audience to believe in anything or even remember much of the actual film. It is clumsy, awkward, Star Wars ripoffery with a lot of lens flares, it's summer popcorn fare and nothing else, fine for Paramount's bottom line but useless for actual Star Trek. "A good Star Trek show" hasn't been seen in 20 years, the powers that be don't understand the message or the vision, so they try to ape what's come before without any actual clarity.

This CBS All Access situation is not that similar to Netflix and Amazon's ways of doing things, there won't be a season drop all at once, it won't be part of a larger network of diverse original content. This will be more akin to Hulu's The Mindy Project or Yahoo's Community presentations. Honestly, if you believe that any single content provider will actually get a successful business model out of this, you're betting the farm on a longshot. Piracy is rampant worldwide, content quality from these big name networks is hardly meeting the standards of its cable and digital competitors, and audiences are skeptical.

Yahoo's failure with Community also proved that not either dropping it all at once or having a loud medium that launches episodes at a time that will capture the audience's desire to watercooler the episode is recipe for failure. There's a reason we talk about Rick & Morty for days, but not Community. There's a reason we gush over BoJack Horseman yet don't really discuss each episode as a group. These are things that matter to niche shows, and so far all I see for this new Star Trek is fizzle as it shows little insight into its audience.
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Staff
Nov 03, 2015
1. Totally tongue and cheek. Jesus, even I have standards!

2. You're not wrong, but if you're CBS and you just want ANYONE to subscribe...why not go after a dedicated fanbase? There aren't 100,000 dedicated Trek fans?
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Nov 03, 2015
Excellent points.
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Nov 03, 2015
Interesting article, thanks.

I do think it's a bit of a cheek asking people to pay and then having commercials.
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Nov 03, 2015
I signed up for the trial when All Access was first launched and was excited, but the commercials were a deal breaker and I told them so when I canceled before my trial ran out.
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Nov 03, 2015
They tried the same thing with Voyager. "Let's put in on a fledgling network and hope it brings in the viewers!"
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Nov 03, 2015
And that one was free!
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Nov 03, 2015
I honestly don't have that big of a problem with CBS All Access. I am currently cable/satellite free and have NetFlix, Hulu and CBS all Access. My bill is currently 1/3 of what I would pay with cable/Satellite. And I watch quite a few shows on CBS so I feel like I am getting my money's worth. I actually like that CBS offers streaming seperate where as other networks require you to log in to your cable provider in order to view their streaming....to that I add, "what is the point of cutting the cord?" As for the commercials, it's never bothered me that much as I take that time to do other things I may need to do right quick. Not championing CBS by any means but I do think they realize that times are changing and that exclusive shows to their streaming site will make hopefully keep them in the game.
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Nov 03, 2015
I'm embracing the world of streaming in the form of Netflix and Amazon Prime, but financially its going to start getting ridiculous if every network has its own stream of mostly mediocre TV. Surely it will all implode eventually?
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Nov 03, 2015
This is why pirating is going to take off. Who has time to hunt down the things you want to watch or the money to get netflix, cbs, hulu, hbo, amazon and who knows what else just to see the shows you want to see?
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Nov 03, 2015
all most like there for someone to invent something like I don't know a electronic tv guide may be one with a bit of AI attach so it can identify program genres and alert you to interesting tv series airing across all these different streaming sites. Allows you to renew and cancel you subscrition easily from one central location.
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Nov 03, 2015
Will this be set in the reimagined J.J.Abrams timeline of the two latest films? If so, I'm really not that interested.
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Nov 03, 2015
It's not stated, only that it won't be directly related to the upcoming 3rd Trek film (Star Trek Into Debacle) coming out next year. but the implications in the language of the press release is yes. Also, it's going to be run by one of the writers of New Coke Trek 1 and 2, Alex Kurtzman.

The argument against that though is that because of the CBS/Paramount merger under Viacom, CBS got the TV rights while Paramount got the movie rights, and then the companies were pulled apart, so Paramount no longer owns a significant portion of the Star Trek tv series rights while CBS doesn't have access to the JJ Abrams films, and that could suggest it'll be in the classic universe or yet another alternate universe.
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Nov 04, 2015
Thanks for the detailed answer. Tbh, in many ways I would probably prefer no new series over one set in this alternate film universe, because it would only solidify it further. To me these new films have very little in common with Star Trek.
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Nov 03, 2015
That's a harsh burn for New Coke Tiberius. Everyone always said it tasted the best.
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Nov 03, 2015
It's Pepsi, that's why it was considered "better" - it was just sweeter, which kids liked better. But we already had a version of Pepsi called "Pepsi"; Coke is different, spicier and less sweet, so we wanted Coke Classic back and then New Coke became an old joke.
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Nov 03, 2015
You're probably right, but I hope you're wrong. I'm not up for another reboot; I want some kind of attachment to 90s Trek. Somehow I don't think I'm going to be happy when more details are released.
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Nov 04, 2015
I would prefer main timeline as well, but what we fans "want" shouldn't interfere with a quality vision. Now we have to hope there's a quality vision driving it, but one step at a time.

It would be nice to have all the original canon back (New Coke Trek keeps Enterprise as canon, of all things, how f'ed is that?), I can't deny having these stories as the foundation is important to me.
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Nov 03, 2015
Since Abrams is attached I'd guess it will take place in his continuity which, yeah, I'm not going to pay for that.
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Nov 03, 2015
I want to see something in the timeline following Deep Space Nine and Voyager
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Nov 03, 2015
Are you talking about the actual timeline or the point in the timeline as in a show taking place after the events in DS9/Voyager?
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Nov 03, 2015
Ie in the DS9 universe and timeline.
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Nov 03, 2015
I'd like that too, a continuation of where they left things now almost 15 years ago
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Nov 03, 2015
You mean the Star Trek timeline.
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Nov 03, 2015
Most star trek fans want that as well.
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