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CBS: No Rush Onto Digital Platforms

CBS sees no great rush to put its shows on such new digital platforms as Google TV or Netflix.

"People want our content. We're going to be paid. We're going to take our time making the right decision," CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves said at the 38th annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference Tuesday.

Moonves called CBS' content its "crown jewels," recounting the millions CBS makes from advertisers when programs it produces run on its broadcast networks, and the 4 million or so per episode a program like NCIS: Los Angeles makes when it is sold into syndication.

"We're saying all these new platforms are great," he said. "Maybe we haven't jumped in as much as our competitors. Maybe because we're doing better in the ratings. . . . They'll take our content later. There's no need to rush in."

Moonves said people at his interactive division are talking to all of the new platform companies on a daily basis.

"Some people see Netflix as the anti-Christ, others look at them as the second coming. We're somewhere in the middle," he said.

Moonves also said that the recovery of the advertising market has been much better than the company expected, and that the market's current strength suggested that this year's upfront will be robust as well.

"The upfront was great, up close to double-digit on pricing," he said. Immediately after the upfront, advertisers were paying more than 10% more in the scatter market and soon prices were up more than 35%.

"The scatter market is going to continue that way through the rest of the season," Moonves said. "That means the upfront should be even better this year."

Jon Lafayette
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.