Jan 09, 2020
Marc DeBevoise, chief digital officer of ViacomCBS and president and CEO of CBS Interactive, on the company’s plan for digital growth.
There won’t be just one winner of the ongoing streaming wars. Instead—according to a discussion at CES between Variety editor Cynthia Littleton and Marc DeBevoise, chief digital officer of ViacomCBS and president and CEO of CBS Interactive—multiple players will compete for a coveted subscription on consumers’ monthly bills.
DeBevoise likened being in the competition to being on a rocket ship, with seats for multiple players. “There’s not unlimited seats … consumers will only take so many [services].”
While streaming continues to grow in popularity, DeBevoise said it doesn’t cancel out those who use traditional MVPDs. “There’s a lot of data out there that says there’s going to be more and more subscriptions and it’s not the total detriment of the multi-channel universe,” DeBevoise said. In fact, he said a large number of CBS All Access subscribers surveyed also subscribe to cable and/or a vMVPD. “It’s not a pure cord-cutter service, it’s actually the opposite. It’s really a premium add-on service for multi-channel subscribers,” he said of CBS All Access. He cited the ViacomCBS carriage deal with Comcast—announced hours before DeBevoise took the stage, which marks the first time the CBS All Access app will be available on an MVPD-based set-top box.
DeBevoise also outlined the growth potential for ViacomCBS’ SVOD services. “From the research we’ve done, we see 200 million subscriptions up for grabs over the next 3-5 years, with about 180 million out in the marketplace today,” he said. “Netflix can’t double, it’s already got almost the entire population of the United States. Amazon Prime is going to have trouble doubling. There’s going to be others coming in to soak up that subscription base. We believe we’re going to have CBS All Access and SHOWTIME able to soak up a portion of that 200 million available subscriptions.”
"“We’ve gotten really smart about how we attract audiences and how we convert them into subscribers.”"
Chief Digital Officer of ViacomCBS and President and CEO of CBS Interactive