– by David Kozlowski

Launching a new streaming service is all the rage in 2017, and it goes without saying that some will succeed and some will fail (I guess I just said it, sigh). While it’s great for consumers to have freedom of choice and a wealth of options, at a certain point the economics just don’t make sense. I don’t know about you, but I’m already paying for an Internet connection, a smartphone service, YouTube TV (I’m a cord-cutter), Netflix, and Hulu… it adds up, and unless I have a really, really, really compelling reason to subscribe to a new service, it’s not happening.

Bottom line, to be successful in the streaming economy, you need a “killer app.” CBS launched its All-Access streaming service in February, and is clearly counting on Star Trek: Discovery to save its digital bacon; unless there’s an untapped pool of 30 million fans I don’t know about who’re dying for re-runs of The Good Wife and NCIS (not likely). Incidentally, the debut episode of Star Trek: Discovery launches on September 24, 2017, with new episodes dropping every Sunday thereafter… and therein lies part of the problem.

Related – Star Trek Discovery Announces Premiere Date

It’s not a completely foolish strategy to align or withhold popular content to help drive subscriptions, and the hype and anticipation for Star Trek: Discovery is fairly solid (it’s sitting at 88% “Want to See” on Rotten Tomatoes). However, it’s also a pretty safe bet that a lot of Trekkies are also holding out for media and fan reactions before making the leap.

Unfortunately, according to io9, CBS is apparently blocking early reviews of Star Trek: Discovery via an embargo that restricts their release until the series airs. This creates two problems: creating needless frustration in the media and increasing fan’s trepidation about the show’s quality. As a PR strategy, this is a remarkable fail, as no one (outside of top CBS execs) is going to applaud this decision.

Star Trek: Discovery has a fantastic cast and the trailers suggest a high-quality effort… but we all know that clips, teasers, and trailers can be misleading. Now fans have to be wondering: what are they hiding? If CBS’ marketing and PR folks thought this move would stoke excitement, they’ve read the wrong tea leaves.

I suspect that many fans will just hold out until all episodes drop, and then subscribe to CBS All-Access for a month to binge Star Trek: Discovery; it’s a strategy a lot of Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley fans follow with HBO GO.

Does the review embargo help or hinder your interest in Star Trek: Discovery? Let us know in the comments down below!

Star Trek: Discovery hits CBS All Access streaming service on September 24, 2017.

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  • Victor Roa

    ewwww, not cool, even if the reviews are possitive, it’s a bad sign to a franchise that has some of the most devoted fans of all time.

    • Yeah, I agree, this is totally misguided. What are they hoping to accomplish? If it’s bad, the whole world will know. If anything, this embargo is only going to increase the chances of negative reviews.

      I love Star Trek, TOS was in constant syndication when I was a kid; TNG and (most of) DS9 was amazing. I want Discovery to be great, but I’m not paying $5-9 a month to see it. No chance.

      • Victor Roa

        well, it’s the studios still in fear of rotten tomatoes and have this whole gate keeper mentality, but even still this is a franchise built on fans. The original series got canceled after 3 seasons.
        Yeah, you’re right also, they should bring back syndication, but like I had to dig down to the billionth channel just to see some Next Gen. It’s because the cable companies still want your money. And you know what, it feels good after a hard day you tune into old school star trek and you see Kirk go “what does god need with a starship?” As bad as ST5 was, I’d still watch it over the Matrix Revolutions.

  • Madcap2112

    Or maybe it just sucks…

    • Ouch. There’s a good chance that this is the case, else why not invite early reviews to help build hype?

  • J’Accuse

    It doesn’t matter. The Orville was sort of lame, but it had spectacular ratings.

    • Would anyone be watching The Orville if it was only airing on CBS All-Access? Not me.

      • Mike Bercheny

        As a non cable, non Sat tv person I’m careful about choosing streaming routes. I’m never paying the outrageous prices of home TV again. Cutting the chord was a good choice for us. Netflix, amazon and youtube are pretty damn entertaining. CBS is entering a very deep competitive market. Stripping Netflix of content from other companies won’t kill it, such as Disney properties. The entertainment world is different now with independent TV shows. CBS as a tough uphill slog to make a suc

        • Mike Bercheny

          Success out of its offerings. Over 100 million on Discovery is very reminiscent of The Motion Pictures financial struggle in development Hell for many years.

  • Mike Bercheny

    I can’t see purchasing a CBS streaming with monthly drops of a show that’s been brutally covered for over a year now. Disco had a better death than the prelaunch disaster known as Discovery. Stranger Things was amazing. GLOW was entertaining. Endlesss shows to choose from with no bad hype. Discovery is loaded with negative

    • Love the disco comment! You make a great point, for the same money I can either choose CBS All-Access or Netflix, that’s not a fair fight at any level (again, notwithstanding the legions of Hawaii Five-O and Scorpion fans… hey, they might exist… CBS better hope so).

      • Mike Bercheny

        I’m hoping Discovery is good. I have hopes that at worst it’s a self correcting mis-step. It’s the studio ownership that always lets Star Trek stumble, not the talents behind and in front of the screen. And the lead character looks like a winner. The actors all look like winners. Story is all that Trek ever needs to survive.

  • Mike Spiteri

    I want this to fail in the worst way. Mainly because of CBS’s arrogance and greed. Screw them and their streaming network. Hell will freeze over before I subscribe.

    • TheOct8pus

      I’m with you there….do they expect people to just shell out money for all these streaming services? They all missed the boat when Netflix came out and now they want to BE Netflix? The irony is that with all these streaming services to pay for, they’re just re-creating a-la-carte cable

  • Behemothrex

    With all the behind the scenes screwing around and the multi layer copyrights and versions that can and cannot be used this is going to crash hard. What we are going to get from this series is nothing like we think, or what was promised. Plus there are strong whiffs of SJW storytelling that is going to rub everyone the wrong way. Expect the studio to blame the failure on the closed minded bigoted life long Trek fans.

  • TheOct8pus

    They’re probably blocking reviews because it’s so awesome, they don’t want to gloat…

  • Kronx

    Makes me want to go watch Other Space again.

  • Lenin1959

    Either they release this on blu-ray, or I won’t care and watch it for free… I’d prefer blu, though.

  • Moby85

    Nope. Although I’m a Star Trek fan, I still haven’t seen even close to all the episodes. With a huge Netflix back catalog of Next Generation, Voyager (currently working through), and DS9, I have content for years based off my rate of viewership.

    I’m not going to blow more cash for another single digital channel for a single show.

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.