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CBS OTT offering crashes during Grammy live stream

The 58th Grammy Awards aired on Feb. 15 and many viewers who chose to live stream the event were disappointed. Online viewers who didn't have access to cable television experienced difficulties watching through CBS's subscription-based streaming platform, All Access.

Live streaming difficulties
Users who tuned into the live stream almost immediately confronted issues, such as error messages or blank screens. In the meantime, users took to social media to express their disappointment and verify that the service was down for everyone.

For many music fans, the Grammy Awards are a rare opportunity to see all of their favorite artists in one room, performing live. Since the event only happens once a year, music fans were eager to tune in and see the special performances, winners and losers take the stage. Not surprisingly, customers were upset when they weren't able to access the service.

As a CBS spokesperson told Variety, the problems were a result of the network's location services provider, which had issues verifying user location. There are some areas in the U.S. where All Access isn't available. Viewers tuning in from these regions could have caused some of the issues with location services. It also could have been that the demand was too high and overwhelmed the service's capabilities. Either way, All Access's poor performance on Monday night disappointed a huge number of music fans.

streaming viewers disappointed imageStreaming viewers were unable to watch the Grammy Award show.

The future of All Access
According to the Verge, CBS is still the only major network that has adopted a streaming network to compete with the likes of Netflix and Hulu. However, if CBS can't produce a product that works effectively, it will be hard to compete. According to The Verge, CBS launched All Access back in 2014, putting it ahead of competitors. After its weak performance streaming the Grammys, though, customers may not be eager to continue their service.

Even worse, CBS promoted its streaming service heavily in the days leading up to the Grammy awards, hoping to gain new subscribers. The channel offered a one-week free trial to encourage new viewers to sign up in time for the award show. Normally, the service is monetized through subscription billing and costs $5.99 per month.

It remains to be seen whether the issues surrounding the Grammys will have long term effects on All Access. One advantage of the service is that it will be the only place for viewers to watch a brand new Star Trek television show coming in 2017, according to a press release from the network. The show will premiere on CBS, but all following episodes will be available only on All Access.

"This new series will premiere to the national CBS audience, then boldly go where no first-run Star Trek series has gone before directly to its millions of fans through CBS All Access," said Marc DeBevoise, Executive Vice President/General Manager CBS Digital Media.

To make up for its poor performance at the Grammys, CBS All Access will need to promote its exclusive content and make sure user experience in the future is up to snuff.

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