Moonves: Retrans ‘Tone Hasn’t Changed’

CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves isn’t worried that fears over lower pay TV affiliate fees and continued consolidation of distributors could affect retransmission growth for his broadcast network, adding that fees are expected to continue to grow at a healthy pace.

On a conference call with analysts to discuss fourth-quarter results, Moonves said retransmission-consent fees grew more than 40% at CBS in the fourth quarter. He estimated that total retrans revenue is on track to grow to $1 billion in 2016, a year earlier than previously expected, and double to $2 billion in 2020.

“Everybody knows what the ballgame is with retrans,” Moonves said on the call, adding that its last negotiation with Cablevision Systems was “no muss, no fuss.”

“Retrans is stronger than ever,” Moonves continued. “Every deal is larger than the one before. The tone hasn’t changed.”