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CBS to make direct-to-internet TV shows for services like Netflix and Amazon

CBS to make direct-to-internet TV shows for services like Netflix and Amazon

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The next hit original series on Netflix might be made by CBS. Network CEO Les Moonves revealed on an earnings call this week that CBS Studios is working on developing original television series solely for streaming video services.

CBS Studios primarily sells to CBS' own channels and is known for such shows as NCIS, but nothing prevents it from producing series for other networks. In fact, one of ABC's new shows this season, called The Club, is made by CBS Television Studios.

Streaming services need networks, and vice-versa

Television networks and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon are often cast as fierce competitors, but the two rely on each other greatly: studios earn big revenues by selling streaming rights to companies like Netflix, and video services need popular content to drive subscriptions.

The move to sell shows directly to streaming services comes along with a general trend towards making more original series, which have become very popular with the resurgence in high-quality television. Demand is high for new TV shows, and CBS Studios already has the means to fill that demand — even if CBS itself doesn't own enough channels on which to show them. The internet also offers a venue for more niche programming that would otherwise be passed over for network television.

Moonves did not reveal which services the company is working with, but he said that "shortly, you're going to hear us being in business with some of the [streaming video services] with original program[s]." He added that it "will be producing more and more shows for more and more outlets, including major streaming companies and other emerging distributors."