SEATTLE & LOS ANGELES – Amazon.com, Inc. and CBS Corporation announced today that they’re teaming up with CBS Television to distribute a new TV series called Extant. Extant, starring Halle Berry and produced by Steven Spielburg’s Amblin Television, is a mystery thriller about a female astronaut trying to reconnect with her family when she returns after a year in outer space. Her experiences lead to events that ultimately will change the course of human history.
Extant will premiere on the CBS Television Network in June. Once the episodes have aired, anyone with an Amazon Prime Instant Video subscription will be able to see any episode four days after their initial broadcast on CBS. Amazon Prime supports a hoard of portable devices, and is the only service that supports episode download for later viewing offline.
Extant is a co-production of CBS Television Studios and Amblin Television, and seems to have a very top heavy list of executive producers. Steven Spielberg, Greg Walker, screenwriter Mickey Fisher, Brooklyn Weaver, Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank will serve as executive producers – and Halle Berry will serve as co-executive producer. Even to those not paying strict attention, that’s a lot of executive producers – and it’s made even more confusing by the fact that there really isn’t any standard definition for that term. Nobody – not even in the industry – knows for sure what the title actually means, apart from giving somebody an extra screen credit.
This arrangement follows CBS and Amazon’s highly successful subscription video-on-demand model for last summer’s number one series Under the Dome, which averaged 15.06 million viewers and was the most watched scripted summer series in 21 years. Under the Dome Season 1 was also watched by more customers than any other TV season on Prime Instant Video this year.
It’s exciting to see even a stodgy old media company like CBS getting on the digital distribution bandwagon – but the fact that the new series is going to be done exclusively through Amazon reminds us that digital distribution is still in its infancy, and that there is still a tremendous amount of fragmentation in the business. We think this will be the case for at least another six to eight years while the various major makers of content figure all this out.
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