‘Star Trek: Discovery’ debut led to record sign-ups for CBS’s streaming service

CBS’s big bet on “Star Trek: Discovery,” the first Star Trek TV series since “Star Trek: Enterprise” wrapped in 2005, is also serving the network’s big bet on its over-the-top streaming service. While it’s too soon to know if the show will hold up over time, the early numbers are promising, the network says today. According to CBS, the show’s launch has led to the highest sign-up day ever for CBS All Access, the streaming service that will be the exclusive home to the series following last night’s streaming and broadcast premiere.

CBS says the show’s debut broke a new record for subscriber sign-ups in a single day, passing the prior record held by the 2017 Grammy Awards.

In addition, the launch of the new series helped CBS achieve its largest sign-up week and month ever for CBS All Access.

Of course, some of those sign-ups can also be attributed to the fall kick-off of the NFL on CBS via the streaming service’s live local feeds, and to some smaller extent, the season finale of “Big Brother.”

But “Star Trek: Discovery” is CBS’s first big attempt at wooing cord cutters to its otherwise under-the-radar offering in terms of streaming services. Unlike the big guys – Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, which are spending billions on original content – CBS to date had done very little in this area, beyond a spin-off of “The Good Wife” called “The Good Fight,” and reality show “Big Brother: Over the Top.” Instead, it’s hoping that the built-in “Star Trek” fanbase will be enough to build a solid audience for CBS All Access.

The network is also promoting the show with an orginal live after-show, called “After Trek,” which airs immediately after “Star Trek” streams. The talk show, hosted by Matt Mira, originally of the Nerdist, includes guest appearances from “Star Trek’s” stars and features discussions of the episode and recaps. Viewers can engage with the show via social media, as well, using the #aftertrek hashtag, says CBS.

It’s unclear for now how the “Star Trek” bump translated to actual subscriber numbers, as the network didn’t release any updated figures. However, CBS in August had forecast that it would have over 4 million subscribers by year-end for its over-the-top services – CBS All Access and Showtime combined. And it said it was ahead of schedule on meeting its 2020 forecast of 8 million subscribers.

Those numbers were up from the 1.5 million that Showtime had, and CBS All Access was nearing, back in February – numbers that then represented a 50 percent increase over the past seven months.

The first episode of “Star Trek: Discovery” aired on CBS alongside its streaming debut in order to entice viewers to subscribe to All Access.

Future episodes will be available on-demand weekly after 8:30 PM ET on Sundays on CBS All Access in the U.S., following the live stream.

Image credit: CBS