Yesterday, HBO announced it's launching a stand-alone Web streaming service. Today it's CBS making that call with CBS All Access, an on-demand service that offers streaming of current and past seasons of popular CBS shows, as well as classic shows, for $5.99 a month, TVLine.com reports. According to a CBS press release, the service offers new episodes of 15 current prime-time shows the day after they air; live-streaming of local CBS stations in 14 markets (with more to be added); full past seasons of favorites like Survivor and The Good Wife; "CBS Classics" like Twin Peaks and Cheers; and the ability to live-stream Big Brother around the clock. The service is meant to attract the demographic that uses Netflix, the New York Times notes—those the Times calls "cord nevers" (people who’ve never paid for TV packages) and "cord cutters" (those who've nixed their cable or satellite subs).
The idea isn't making everyone reach for the remote. First, you won't find NFL games on the service, though CBS execs are pushing other sports that are available for live-streaming and reportedly talking to the NFL about future possibilities. Kate Knibbs comes down harshly on the plan, writing at Gizmodo that this "is possibly the worst streaming TV deal out there," noting the fact that viewers have to sit through ads for current shows, just like on regular TV (the classic shows are ad-free), and that—unlike HBO—you can watch CBS for free already. Times tech writer Farhad Manjoo agrees, tweeting, "Offering to let you pay $5.99 a month for shows you can get for free is just why TV has done so well in the digital age." If you want it anyway, the service is available at CBS.com or through mobile devices via the CBS app.