The folks at ViacomCBS have decided to stream the most recent season of Star Trek: Short Treks for free, a practice that should involve all Trek shows.
As part of their Emmy campaign, the entire second season of Star Trek: Short Treks have been made free to stream on YouTube. The series will also be available on CBS.com, CBS’ mobile apps and are only available for free for those in the United States. It’s a huge move by ViacomCBS and one that should hopefully get more eyes on the product than ever before.
It’s also a smart move, not just for its Emmy chances, but also for the fact that a big issue with new-Star Trek is the constant complaints of the paywall. While the merger of Viacom and CBS will allow the soon-to-be-renamed CBS All Access an opportunity to have a lot more content fans want to see, as of right now it doesn’t offer enough beyond Star Trek for most fans of the franchise to sink money into.
One of the things that would benefit the brand going forward and may win some fans back, if not make new ones outright, would be the decision to release seasons for free. While putting it on Paramount Network as first-run programming or any other Viacom owned channel would be the most welcoming idea, just releasing them for free at all six months or so after these episodes premiere would be a welcome idea.
Services like Pluto TV already have aired select CBS All Access Star Trek content, and putting the first season of Star Trek: Picard, the first two seasons of Star Trek: Discovery and the first season of Star Trek: Short Treks on there would be a nice gesture from a massive corporation to the fans.
It won’t erase every complaint or critique the franchise has had thrown at it since 2017 but it may be enough to get some fans back.