Dan Leakey has I was Star Trek A fan since he squeezed the VHS tape from the original TV show during Christmas 1991. Leckie, of Aberdeen, Scotland, was immediately linked with the science fiction series and its later iterations, and regularly attends conferences to meet fellow fans. But on November 16, he noticed something strange: Netflix stopped promoting the first three seasons of Star Trek: Discovery—The previews for Season 4, scheduled for release on November 18, have also disappeared.
What Leckie discovered will soon become a point of fury for Star Trek fans around the world: Netflix lost the rights to Season 4 of… Discovery Outside the US, and previous seasons as well. It will now appear on Paramount+, the streaming service formerly CBS All Access owned by ViacomCBS — but not until 2022, and even then, not everywhere. (in the United States, Star Trek: Discovery It has always aired exclusively on Paramount + / CBS All Access.) And Star Trek is just the beginning. What’s the bad news Discovery Fans now have another glimpse into the increasingly confused future of broadcasting.
Until relatively recently, most intellectual property owners sold the rights to television and movies through pay television, physical home video, and cinema. The concept of webcasting was seen as not a priority. Then everything changed – and quickly. With Netflix’s popularity on the rise, Disney restored streaming rights to its vast catalog and launched Disney+ in November 2019, 118 million subscribers so far. Others are following quickly — from Discovery+ to HBO Max and Britbox. And as streaming services scramble to produce more original content, anyone who wants to sit back and watch their favorite TV shows has a headache. Instead of subscribing to a single streaming service, with each passing year, people are being asked to do more and more to access competing platforms.
“A lot of fans, in the UK and around the world, are outraged that they will have to pay for another subscription service to enable them to see Discovery, and finally the rest of the Star Trek TV series,” says Leakey. Glenn van te Hoff, Dutch Star Trek More blunt fan. “What a silly move to announce this two days before the supposed European release date,” he says. “This is not a service to the masses.” Leakey believes the move – which prevents people outside the US and Canada from watching Season 4 of Discovery Until 2022 — many will push towards pirated versions of the show. The rights deal with Netflix for Star Trek covered 190 countries and territories — but Paramount+ will only be available in 45 countries by the end of 2022. “This leaves three-quarters of the market unable to watch without piracy,” says Leckie.
Analysts are also skeptical about the benefits to Star Trek fans of switching to Paramount+. Andrew A. Rosen, former CEO of digital media at Viacom and founder of Parqor, a streaming services analyst firm, believes that it is highly unlikely that Paramount+ will be able to replicate the economics, scope, or evolution of Netflix’s marketing model around major franchises like Star Trek. Neither ViacomCBS nor Netflix responded to requests for comment.