Just two weeks ago, reports surfaced that Netflix was angling to snatch first-run rights to the new Star Trek series in the United Kingdom from Sky 1.
The sweepstakes is now over, and not only will Netflix have the untitled series in Great Britain, but in 187 countries as well.
The online media company, which reportedly fought to get the American distribution rights to Star Trek before CBS decided to anchor their own streaming service, pulled off what could be one of the biggest coups in television history with the deal. It means Trek will be available almost immediately after it's released in the United States on CBS All Access just about anywhere in the world with Internet access and a Netflix subscription.
"The launch of the new Star Trek will truly be a global television event," Armando Nunez, president and chief executive of CBS Studios International, said in a release, according to Variety. "Star Trek is a worldwide phenomenon, and this international partnership will provide fans around the world who have been craving a new series for more than a decade the opportunity to see every episode virtually at the same time as viewers in the U.S."
Star Trek isn't alone when it comes to instant international distribution. Online piracy has forced many studios to re-think international rollouts, which in the past could take months or even years after the original American broadcast. Now with torrent sites and such making episodes available the minute they air in one market, CBS obviously fears piracy could heavily slice into revenue streams if such practices were to continue.
And with Star Trek now seemingly only available through a streaming subscription — whether it be CBS All Access or Netflix — CBS will have to deal with piracy intended to avoid paying those fees, which could run as high as $10 a month or more.
In Canada, Bell runs CTV and CTV Two, and will air the new Trek episodes about the same time they become available on CBS All Access in the United States. Bell already has the Canadian broadcast rights to the existing Star Trek television library, and Netflix will have full international rights to that library outside of Canada by the end of the year.
No casting or even general storyline has been released about the new show. It will be run by Bryan Fuller, who also is a co-creator along with Alex Kurtzman. Filming is set to begin this September in Toronto, with the premiere set for January. However, some rumors indicate CBS and Fuller will release the name of the new series during San Diego Comic-Con this week, as well as possibly one or more of the primary cast.
Netflix boasts 46 million subscribers in the United States, and 35 million more worldwide.