CBS is working on shows that you won’t see on CBS. Instead, the plan is for you to see them on the Internet, via video services like Netflix or Amazon’s Prime Instant Video.
If that happens, it means CBS will have opened up a new revenue source: In addition to selling its reruns to Netflix and its competitors, it will also be selling them brand-new shows those services can stream exclusively.
CBS CEO Les Moonves, reading from a script during his company’s earnings call yesterday, announced that CBS’s TV studio “will be producing more and more shows for more and more outlets, including major streaming companies and other emerging distributors.”
Later on in the call, in response to an analyst question, he said that “shortly, you’re going to hear us being in business with some of the [subscription video-on-demand services] with original program[s].”
A CBS spokesman confirmed that Moonves was talking about selling new shows to the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.
This isn’t the first time that Moonves has floated the idea. In February 2012, he told analysts that CBS might produce a show for Netflix, which had just gotten into the originals business. But that show never materialized.
Netflix and other streaming services generally commission other studios to make new series, and buy exclusive rights to air them for a “window” of time. Media Rights Capital, for instance, owns “House of Cards” and has the right to sell the show to other places, including DVDs via Amazon.
Like other TV studios, CBS’s studio produces shows that run on other networks. But its primary role is to create shows that run on CBS and its sister networks, including giant hits like the “CSI” and “NCIS” franchises.