60% of Our Traffic Is From Mobile, Says CBS, and That's Low
"Mobile really has been the biggest tidal wave in our industry," said Jim Lanzone, CEO of CBS Interactive and chief digital officer for CBS Corporation, delivering a keynote address at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. In fact, CBS's online properties get 60 percent of their visitors from mobile devices. That's actually low for the industry, he added, as some properties get 70 percent.
Social networks are also "a massive traffic source," Lanzone said, illustrating how discovery has broadened from a few years back when search results were everything.
CBS Interactive is a division of CBS, and includes over 25 brands.
Building up mobile, social, and over-the-top (OTT) is critical for Lanzone, and for improving the day-to-day performance of CBS Interactive. "Those are going to be the major trends right now," he said. Among connected TV devices, CBS gets most traffic from Roku, Amazon Fire, and Google Chromecast.
Video content consumption is skyrocketing, and Lanzone doesn't see it plateauing any time soon. Last year, people watched 9.5 hours of video during their day, and this year that's up to 10.5 hours. They're watching in more locations, such as during their commute and at work, and they're watching videos simultaneously. Mobile is driving that growth, since it allows anytime/anywhere access to video. "I honestly believe that number is going to continue to go up, and maybe dramatically," he said.
For CBS's online subscription service, CBS All Access, Lanzone says the company now counts over 1 million subscribers and plans to grow that to 4 million by 2020. The service has a $5.99 per month ad-supported tier and a $9.99 per month ad-free tier. The average age of subscribers is early 40s, which he said is young for an online service. Roughly 30 percent of those subscribers are millennials and the vast majority are pay TV subscribers. The percentage of ad-free subscribers are in the low double digits, he said, adding that many would like to get a free version with larger ad loads. Generating revenue from a variety of sources, and bringing ad revenue down to 50 percent of the total, is important for CBS.
This fall, CBS All Access will launch the latest Star Trek series, which Lanzone called "the big kahuna for us." The first episode will broadcast on CBS, with all following episodes going to the subscription service. The series was developed, paid for, and created by CBS All Access.
Asked about the new golden age of television, Lanzone said, "As a TV lover and geek like me, it's never too much." The challenge, he said, is creating enough good quality content that people want to watch, and with so much competition it's harder than ever to hit a high average. With so many shows in production over various platforms, networks can't monitor them all and have been forced to give more control to showrunners. That's proven to be a good move for quality, he noted.
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