CBS to stream NFL games on mobile

CBS today announced an expanded agreement with the NFL which will allow it to stream NFL ON CBS games through its over-the-top service, CBS All Access, through 2022. The deal includes, for the first time, rights to stream the games on mobile devices. The changes will begin this season, and will additionally include the ability for TV Everywhere subscribers (those who have an existing pay TV subscription) to stream the games on mobile, too.

According to the network, the entire 2018 NFL ON CBS season, including Super Bowl LIII, will stream live on CBS All Access across all platforms. This includes not only mobile devices and the web, but also on media streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Android TV, Fire TV, and game consoles like Xbox One and Playstation, plus Samsung Smart TVs.

The games will also be available to those who chose to subscribe to CBS All Access through Amazon’s a la carte TV service, Amazon Channels.

CBS already had streaming rights to NFL games, starting in the 2016 season. But Verizon [disclosure: TC parent by way of Oath] held exclusive mobile streaming rights to games until their deal expired with the 2017 season. That change has broadened access to NFL games on mobile.

For example, Fox’s multi-year deal for Thursday Night Football also included mobile rights, Variety reported. Verizon is now streaming games through Yahoo, Go90 and other properties on mobile. And NBCU and ESPN have Sunday and Monday Night Football deals that involve mobile streaming, the site also noted.

For the NFL, it needs to broaden access to games on mobile devices to address issues with lower ratings that’s, in part, attributed to cord cutting.

And for CBS, access to the games on mobile could give its streaming service a boost in the wake of what may be slowing growth, and the mistake of putting too much pressure on the “Star Trek” prequel to deliver subscribers. “Star Trek: Discovery” has underwhelmed some fans, leaving it with a 4.7 out 10 user score on Metacritic, and a lot of negative reviews on IMDb.

In other words, CBS can’t count on those core Trek fans to subscribe to All Access just to watch the new show, as it may have hoped.

Bringing in NFL fans could help with sign-ups – as will being available on Amazon Channels, which accounts for some 55% of direct-to-consumer subscriptions, according to reports.

“We are excited to extend our partnership with CBS as it aligns perfectly with our goal of providing NFL fans with greater opportunities to watch NFL games across digital devices,” said Hans Schroeder, Chief Operating Officer of NFL Media and Business, in a statement about the CBS deal. “The 2018 season will mark a new era for NFL fans with unprecedented access to NFL games across digital platforms.”