One of the biggest hurdles facing CBS All Access, the subscription-based streaming service that will be the home of “Star Trek: Discovery” next year, is the fact that it has a huge disadvantage against competitors like Netflix and Hulu — commercials.
But not anymore. CBS All Access announced today it would offer a commercial-free tier for $10 a month. That’s $4 more than its regular commercial-filled tier, but is an offering similar to what Hulu offers. Netflix has no commercial tier.
This is good news for “Discovery” fans, who learned recently that CBS planned to include about 12 minutes of commercials with each episode of “Discovery.” That’s slightly less than the level of commercials offered in a typical network hour-long drama, but still far more than Netflix and a premium tier of Hulu offer.
“The foundation of CBS All Access is not only giving CBS fans access to more of the content they want, but also giving them more choice in how they watch their favorite CBS programming,” Marc DeBevoise, president and chief operating officer of CBS Interactive, said in a release. “The addition of a commercial-free plan gives our subscribers even more ways to customize their CBS viewing experience — from which devices to whether they watch in or out of the home, and now with commercials or without.”
While the commercial-free will apply to older programs in the CBS All Access library, DeBevoise made it clear it would also cover the original programming being made exclusively for the streaming service. That includes “Discovery” as well as the digital edition of “Big Brother” and the planned “The Good Wife” spinoff.
One area that will continue to include commercials, however, will be the live-streaming of local CBS Television stations. That feature, offered in more than 150 markets in the United States, will obviously have the same commercials as the over-the-air broadcast. Also, select on-demand shows will include what the company calls “promotional interruptions.”
CBS emphasizes the fact that many of its “classic” offerings run with no commercials. And even those who subscribe to the $6 a month plan will experience “limited” commercial interruption.
“Star Trek: Discovery” is set to debut in January on CBS, and then move to weekly episodes throughout the rest of the winter on CBS All Access.