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Showtime president David Nevins says network is well positioned in new TV era

Showtime president David Nevins says network is well positioned in new TV era
Showtime president David Nevi (Showtime)

It's been just over a month since Showtime launched its stand-alone streaming service — and network president David Nevins expects that positions them well in the cord-cutting bubble.

Nevins faced reporters Tuesday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Beverly Hills, where he talked about the "auspicious and exciting" period in the network's evolution beyond traditional linear TV.

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Showtime debuted its eponymous digital over-the-top streaming service in July, Nevins said, as a way to reach those customers who don't already have a cable or satellite TV service rather than encourage cord-cutting. The latter is an issue thrust into the spotlight last week in the aftermath of a media stocks meltdown that occured after remarks by Disney's Chief Executive Bob Igerin about the effect of cord-cutting on the company's brands.

"We have a lot of room for expansion in that universe," said Nevins, pointing to the 12 million broadband-only homes and 80-plus million pay-TV homes that don't subscribe to Showtime.

Showtime's standalone streaming service is available for $10.99 per month. The service is offered on Apple, Roku, Playstation Vue. Hulu subscribers can also access the service as an add-on at $8.99 per month. More partners are expected to be announced ahead of the October launches of "Homeland" and "The Affair," Nevins said. The service comes a few months after the launch of similar service HBO Now offered by competitor HBO.

And as the streaming market expands and traditional media companies augment their business models to address hard-to-ignore conumer-viewing habits, Nevins said Showtime and its parent company, CBS, are fit for the new, unbundled TV era.

"To the extent that there are different kinds of bundles being put together, skinnier bundles, a lot of talk of different providers providing different ways to subscribe, it augurs well for our company," he said. "Any smaller bundle is gonna have to have CBS. To the extent that there are smaller bundles, it will lower the pricepoint at which Showtime is available. We feel like the trends are actually very good for us."

Nevins also put emphasis on the importance of ownership — another bubbling focus for media companies in today's market. During his five-year tenure at the premium network, he's made owning programming a key target as a way to "monetize shows around the world." And Tuesday he boasted that Showtime now owns roughly 80% of its programming, including "Ray Donovan," "The Affair" and the upcoming drama "Billions."

Ownership also eliminates rights issues when it comes to putting shows on streaming services — an issue the network is dealing with in "Homeland," which is produced by Fox 21 TV Studios. Showtime faced a hiccup with its transition to streaming when the studio questioned whether the network was within its rights to make the series available on its streaming site.

Showtime doesn't have subscription video on demand rights to "Homeland," but studios that produce programming for the network are contractually prohibited from licensing said shows to SVOD services like Netflix or Amazon while they are on the air.

Nevins, who will assume the role of CEO in January, downplayed the issue on Tuesday: "I don't think there are really any complications. 'Homeland' will be on our air for many years to come. We're not even at the end of the license period. They want to figure out how to maximize their window of the show, and I want to help them."

I tweet about TV (and other things) here: @villarrealy

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