Moonves: Cord Cutting Means Increased Revenue for CBS

Cord cutting might be bad for most cable networks, but it's not hurting CBS. In fact, CBS CEO Les Moonves said CBS makes more money as viewers leave traditional distributors and stream the network.

Speaking during CBS’s third-quarter earnings call, Moonves said that while other networks are losing subscribers, CBS is growing. Both the CBS broadcast network and premium cable network Showtime have more subs than a year ago he said.

“Best of all, as consumers cut the cord and switch to skinny bundles, the economics get better for us, growing rates as well,” Moonves said.

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When a viewer switches from a traditional distributor to a streaming skinny bundle, CBS’s fee doubles, he said. If they subscribe to CBS All Access, CBS’s haul sometimes triples.

Similarly, when a Showtime subscriber moves to streaming, the revenue is “substantially” higher than what CBS gets from traditional MVPD distributors.

“OTT is a more profitable business model,” Moonves said.

On top of that, advertising on streaming platforms sells at higher rates, he added.

Moonves said that CBS is ready for changes affecting the TV business, which will create haves and have nots. “Clearly we’re on the right side of that divide,” 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.