Those viewers outside the US hoping to catch the fourth season of Star Trek: Discovery when it returns at the end of the week may have to wait to boldly go once more. While, in previous seasons, the show has aired on CBS All Access (which became Paramount+) in the US and then, twenty-four hours later hit Netflix in many other international regions, that deal (which helped finance the show) is officially over as of today.
The original arrangement saw Trek appear on Bell in Canada and Amazon and Netflix elsewhere, but the platform’s rebranding to Paramount+ has seen growing plans to bring the broadcast wholly in-house under one global umbrella and that means it’s beholden to where the Paramount+ platform exists or will do. Some may have noticed that shows such as Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise all quietly left Netflix earlier in the year, indicating what was to come. ViacomCBS (the company behind Paramount +) have also bought the first three seasons of the sf series from Netflix, so that the Trek footprint will simultaneously disappear from that platform.
Paramount+ will launch Star Trek: Discovery’s fourth season in America this Thursday – 18th November – but the new structure means that international fans won’t see it until January as part of the branding/broadcast roll-out. Industry site Deadline notes that the UK, Germany, Ireland, Austria and Switzerland will likely be at the front of those plans with the intention of the platform being available in 48 territories in the next year.
The move will likely frustrate fans who were expecting to be able to see the show later this week and it seems likely that – with the illicit downloading and pirating of tv shows still a major problem – the show may take an audience hit with those not prepared to wait around two months for a formal broadcast in their territory. It also raises questions about whether the second season of Star Trek: Picard, launching early in 2022 in the US, will be delayed internationally so as to stagger Trek broadcasts.