CBS hopes that limiting its new sci-fi series Star Trek:Discovery to its online streaming app will help drive subscriptions to the $6-per-month service (or $10 ad-free).
So far, that seems like a good bet. The service, CBS All Access, said it had a “record number” of daily new sign ups on Sunday ahead of the new Star Trek premiere airing. Of course, CBS (CBS) didn’t disclose any actual numbers. But CBS CEO Les Moonves last month said All Access and the company’s Showtime online service combined will exceed 4 million total subscribers by the end of the year.
The first Star Trek episode also aired on regular CBS broadcast stations. The second episode, which came out on Sunday along with episode one, was limited to just the All Access service, as will be all future weekly episodes.
But the downside of limiting distribution to a tiny fraction of potential viewers in the Internet age is piracy. And with just two episodes released so far, Star Trek: Discovery is already climbing the charts of most pirated shows. The premiere episode, called “The Vulcan hello,” is the 12th most pirated video on listing at The Pirate Bay, the most popular search engine for finding illicitly uploaded TV shows and movies.
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The list is still dominated by HBO’s Game of Thrones, which has been dubbed the most pirated show of all time. Its season seven final episode, called “The Dragon and the Wolf,” ranked No. 1 on the most pirated videos list.
Moonves has said CBS intentionally kept the new Star Trek series off Netflix (NFLX) and other streaming services to attract more subscribers to its own service.