Moonves: CBS' OTT Product Tops 100,000 Subscribers

CBS CEO Les Moonves says CBS’ over-the-top product CBS All Access has more subscribers than the 100,000 that have tried Dish’s Sling TV.

CBS has been mum about subscriber numbers for CBS All Access, and at a Deutsche Bank investors conference on Wednesday, Moonves declined to provide specific figures.

He said subscribers included cord cutters, people who want mobility and the super fans of CBS shows.

More media companies are jumping into the over-the-top space to reach consumers who are not signing up for traditional pay-TV services. HBO this week launched its OTT product, HBO Now, with Apple. Last month, Nickelodeon announced Noggin, a mobile video subscription product for pre-schoolers.

Moonves said CBS has not included the out-of-home rights to its programming in its current retransmission consent deals with cable operators and other pay-TV distributors. "Out of home rights are very important. We haven’t given them to anybody,” he said. And as the value of those out of home rights become more apparent, Moonves said, they will cost distributors extra, on top of what they’re currently paying for retransmission.

Moonves said CBS was close to reaching agreements with affiliate stations that would enable live streams of programming on the app within a couple of months. By being partners with stations, and cutting them in on the subscription revenues, “they [have] incentive to push it,” he said.

Moonves also said that the ad market is improving. After a tough fourth quarter, CBS is getting prices on a cost-per-thousand viewers basis that are 10% above upfront prices. More importantly, volume has gone up “quite a bit” he said.

Asked about this year’s upfront, Moonves declined to make a prediction but said “we can’t wait for May to come.”

Moonves also said that CBS will be a full participant in the TV spectrum incentive auctions, particularly with the non-CBS network stations it owns. With spectrum going for about $200 million per station and CBS owning 14 CW and independent stations, "$2 billion is a lot of money," he said.

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.