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CBS’s Showtime Could Offer Online Subscriptions Direct to Viewers

The move would allow those not subscribed to pay TV the option to view shows like “Homeland” and “Masters of Sex”

Last Updated: September 5, 2014 @ 9:42 AM

For a long time now, there has been those wishing that HBO would make their HBO Go app available to people who don’t have a pay TV service. Now, it looks like CBS may be considering that very option for its own premium cable channel, Showtime.

At the Nomura Digital Media Conference in New York on Thursday, CBS COO Joseph Ianniello dropped a tantalizing tease about the possibility of offering Showtime directly to the consumer, bypassing cable and satellite providers altogether, as reported by Forbes.

Also read: Entertainment and Media CFOs Say Digital Future Looks Bright

He pointed out that there is nothing contractually stopping CBS from “doing something direct to consumer” with Showtime. A streaming option would allow cord cutters, and those without cable or satellite subscriptions to still sign up for Showtime if they want. In this way, they could catch Showtime’s original programming like “Homeland” and “Masters of Sex.”

Ianniello didn’t say that CBS was considering this option, or even exploring it really, but he did open a conversation. A la carte television has been a big topic of discussion over the past several years, with cable and satellite providers understandably lobbying hard against it.

Also read: ‘Masters of Sex,’ ‘Ray Donovan’ Renewed by Showtime

Most current online viewing options, like HBO GO, require people to verify that they already have a cable or satellite subscription, thus making them no threat to the cable and satellite companies.

If CBS bypasses them completely by offering Showtime directly to the consumer, it will be a major change in the status quo of the television industry.