CBS Says Its Shows Help Cable Networks

CBS is taking three of its series into syndication, and that should be good news not only for CBS shareholders but for cable networks, CBS CEO Les Moonves said.

Speaking on CBS’ first-quarter earnings call with Wall Street analysts Thursday, Moonves said that Madam Secretary, Scorpion and NCIS: New Orleans will begin to be licensed in domestic syndication, creating revenue for the company.

“They’ll be coming to market at just the right time,” Moonves said.

“There has been a barrage of new original programming on cable networks these last few years. Some of it has worked. Much of it has not. For many programmers, our proven content presents a better business model than the risk of another failed original,” he said.

Some of the best performing cable networks have been helped thanks to shows from CBS, he added, ticking off NCIS, Ghost Whisperer and Beverly Hills, 90210.

In addition to the cable guys, the streaming SVOD folks crave CBS content, as do international distributors..

The three shows represent 200 episodes CBS will monetize.

And Joe Ianniello, CBS’ COO, said that 200 hours doesn’t include the shows CBS is producing for Showtime, The CW, All Access and other cable networks, as well as streaming outlets. “In total, we have more than 600 episodes of shows which have aired but not yet been licensed domestically, and thus, the value yet to be realized,” he said.

“We're also creating more and more series for broadcast, cable, and digital platforms beyond CBS, Showtime and the CW,” said Moonves. “We now have shows in production or development at 11 networks and streaming services outside of our company. All of this gives us a bigger and bigger library of content that can be monetized across platforms for years to come.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.