Moonves: Here's the 'Skinny' on CBS

CBS CEO Les Moonves said the broadcast network is “essential” to any programming package – full, skinny or otherwise – adding that the company is also catering to viewers that want smaller video packages, offering pair of online services that are geared toward younger audiences.

At its Investor Day in New York, Moonves said that CBS offers the best of all worlds – its leadership among broadcasters (he said the broadcast network will win this season, making it the 13th time in 14 years it has been the top ranked network – and its CBS All Access and Showtime OTT offerings provide a lower-cost alternative to more expensive programming offerings.

“CBS is essential to any skinny bundle,” Moonves said, adding that the network gets higher fees when it is included in smaller packages like CBS All Access, for which it charges $5.99 per month. “Any way you want CBS – large bundle, small bundle, OTT – CBS is there.”  

To keep the CBS All Access package increasingly relevant, Moonves said the service will offer its first original show in January, a reboot of the Star Trek series. The goal, he said, is to offer three to four new original shows each year on the All Access platform.

Moonves announced earlier that CBS is exploring strategic alternatives for its CBS Radio Group to unlock the value of the assets, which could mean either a sale or a spinoff. The company spun-off its outdoor advertising business in 2014. He offered little detail on the company’s plans, only that whatever it decides to do will be right for shareholders and the business.   

At Showtime OTT, Showtime CEO David Nevins said the service is more popular than the company ever imagined, although he did not offer any subscriber figures. But he did say that Showtime OTT has a huge potential audience in the 13 million broadband-only and 75 million pay TV homes across the country that don’t subscribe to Showtime.