Speaking Wednesday morning at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom investor conference in Palm Beach, Fla., Moonves said negotiations with digital distributors and traditional MVPDs are in full swing. HBO’s formal announcement on Tuesday of the HBO Now launch next month has accelerated those conversations, he said.
Moonves comments during the 45-minute Q&A ranged from CBS’ improving fortunes in latenight with Stephen Colbert taking over “The Late Show” to the potential for some of the CBS-owned CW and independent stations to profit by taking part in the FCC’s upcoming spectrum auctions. But OTT is the hot topic of the moment, and Moonves emphasized that CBS was positioning itself for the future with the launch of the CBS All Access SVOD platform last October.
“Clearly the bundle is changing. The days of the 500-channel universe are over,” he said “The days of the 150-channel universe in the home are not necessarily over but they’re changing rapidly. People are slicing it and dicing it in different ways.”
Among other tidbits from the session:
- The Eye is open to shedding some of its radio station holdings in mid-sized markets: “Trimming some of that would be a good idea for us,” he said.
- Moonves didn’t address (nor was he asked) about the speculation regarding CBS Corp.’s long-term future following the death of Sumner Redstone, the 91-year-old once controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom. But he did stress that he does not feel pressure to expand CBS Corp. even at a time of pending mega-mergers among distributors such as Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T and DirecTV. “I don’t see any way that we consolidate in the near or distant future unless (it is) under terms that are really favorable to us,” he said.