Yesterday, I began by noting that there were a number of Trek fans who believed that CBS was somehow in a “panic” about the poor performance of Star Trek: Discovery, and that there was some kind of pressure being put onto the production team to retool the series, possibly bringing in the USS Enterprise to somehow replace the USS Discovery…or some nonsense like that.
It’s true that, at best, Star Trek: Discovery is just about breaking even for CBS…or possibly losing a few million dollars. I didn’t do all the math yesterday as I ran out of space, but I’ll do it quickly here for you.
Since last September when Discovery premiered, CBS All Access has added approximately 500,000 new subscribers (going from 2 million to 2.5 million). I learned that the majority of those subscribers were actually tuning into the NFL on All Access and not Discovery, but let’s assume that they all joined because CBS added a new Star Trek show.
All Access allows subscribers to watch with commercials for $6/month or without for $10/month. Let’s average that to $8/month. Discovery was on for five months:
[ 5 months x $8/month x 500,000 subscribers = $20 million ]
As I mentioned yesterday, Discovery cost CBS about $30 million to produce (the portion not covered by Netflix licensing).
So how does Discovery break even if it’s losing $10 million? Advertising. Also, not all of those subscribers canceled after 5 months, so the revenue continues. In other words, Discovery is doing just fine as far as CBS is concerned.
On the other hand, the license to stream the NFL on All Access likely cost CBS upwards of $250 million…and there’s no way they didn’t lose money on that deal! So why keep throwing major bucks into All Access if you’re CBS? Hasn’t this experiment essentially failed?
And to make matters worse, this is how All Access looks when measured up against Netflix and Hulu subscribers (and this is only in the U.S. alone)…
YEESH! Sucks to be CBS, right? So why not put All Access out of its misery? Why bother keeping Star Trek: Discovery on the air and losing money on the NFL?
There’s a very simple reason…