Why 'Star Trek: Discovery' Isn't on Netflix

Star Trek: Discovery has been a big success on Netflix internationally, but in the United States the series can only be watched on CBS’s propriety streaming service CBS All Access. Now the head of CBS is explaining why.

CBS chief Les Moonves spoke to a Wall Street audience at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Tuesday. He explained that Netflix offered a lot of money for the United States streaming rights to Star Trek: Discovery, but he also explained why CBS passed.

“We could have sold it to Netflix for a lot more money, but you can be darn sure All Access wouldn’t be doing as well,” he said, noting the importance of original content to any streaming service’s longevity. He also noted that Star Trek has “a built-in fanbase that was pretty emphatic.”

So yes, as many critics of CBS’s decision have theorized, CBS wanted to leverage the passion of Star Trek fans to boost interest in CBS All Access. But as we’ve noted previously, there’s really nothing wrong with that.

Moonves had expressed to investors previously that he believed keeping Star Trek: Discovery in-house would make more money for the company in the long run.

“We could have put Star Trek on Showtime, on the CBS Television Network or Netflix, Amazon, they all wanted it for a lot of money,” Moonves said. “We determined that Star Trek would be far better for All Access and will earn us more money.”

Star Trek: Discovery has been responsible for record signups for CBS All Access. It has also been a big success on Netflix, ranking as one of the most-watched family shows on the streaming service in 2017.

The deal for Netflix to carry Star Trek: Discovery in overseas markets helped subsidize the sizable cost of making the series at little to no loss for CBS since CBS All Access is still not available in overseas markets. CBS All Access does have plans to expand into international markets in the near future.


Star Trek: Discovery begins production on its second season in April. The series is expected to return to CBS All Access in late 2018 or early 2019.

Source: Variety