Moonves: Network TV "Ain't Broken"
CBS Corp. chief Leslie Moonves tells UBS media confab "you can still make a lot of money in network TV."
By Claire Atkinson -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/10/2008 6:51:00 AM
CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves says the network-TV business isn’t over.
"I'm here to tell you that the model ain’t broken,” said Moonves, speaking Wednesday at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference in New York. “You can still make a lot of money in network TV.”
Moonves’ remarks came two days after NBC Universal president/CEO Jeff Zucker spoke at the UBS confab, stressing the need to “rethink what a broadcast network is today.”
In a pointed reference, Moonves added, "certain people are having audience erosion, some are not. We are not."
On the advertising front, Moonves said the company could have capitalized on its strong ratings but scatter pricing and volume was low. However, whatever money was out there was coming to CBS, which had no make-goods.
"The old fuddy-duddy network is winning 18-49. If scatter was stronger—was as strong as it should be—we'd be able to capitalize more,” he said, adding, "We really need the autos to come back."
Separately, CBS expects to make an announcement on the retransmission front. "We expect north of $200 million dropping from retrans,” Moonves said. "We are guardedly optimistic it is going well."
While he expressed support for the affiliate system, Moonves said things may change. "People ask, ‘Why not break the bond with the affiliates and go directly to cable.’ It is something that down the road could happen"
Noting that CBS wins the 10 p.m. hour and monetizes that content 12 different ways, Moonves remarked on NBC’s announcement that Jay Leno will remain at the network and host a new primetime show in that hour: "We view it as a plus for us. It’s taking the third competitor out of the marketplace and that will make us stronger."
IF FREE TV DIES, DEMOCRACY DIES IN AMERICA. Does anybody in the business still care about the public interest? Or has cynicism and greed overtaken the industry? Where are the William S. Paleys and the Ed Murrows of today? Moonves needs a history lesson -- in broadcasting and in civics.
Adam Smith - 12/11/2008 1:24:00 PM EST
As one of the people who cannot get DTV but can get analog channels, I see a time in the next decade where free TV will come to a close
Eric Post - 12/11/2008 12:19:00 PM EST
MPG's left-brained/right-brained amalgamated list on how CBS can monetize their content
1. Original broadcast
2. On-network reairs
3. Product integration
5. Overseas distribution
6. Online video and other virtual content
9. Syndication sales to stations
10. Syndication sales to advertisers
11. Cable stations
12. Cable station sales to advertisers
13. David Caruso signature line of sunglasses
14. Rob Morrow â€œChew with an attitudeâ€ sugarless gum â€“ Sour Apple flavor
15. CSI: NY brand â€œMarginal NY Accent/English - English/Marginal NY Accentâ€ translation books and seminar series
16. â€œIâ€™m â€˜Psychedâ€™ Iâ€™m On The Mentalistâ€ t-shirt, coffee cup, etc. promotional pieces
17. Wholesale lot of Katie Couric action figures with Serious Newsdesk Dream Setâ„¢.
Don Seaman - 12/10/2008 5:20:00 PM EST
Personally, I really like the Bladder Problems Videos ad at the bottom of the comments page. It ties in well to the "old fuddy duddy network. "Nice touch!
Mark Walker - 12/10/2008 2:57:00 PM EST
I agree that''s a pretty amazing statement by Moonves. Sure, we all know Les is the Joe Biden of Hollywood (bombastic, gaffe-prone, loves sound of own voice). But he''s right, CBS probably should just sell off its local TV stations and then bypass affiliates by selling programming directly to cable/satellite/telcos. That way, CBS could: (1) collect at least $.50/month from cable/satellite/telcos in retrans fees and share none of that with affiliates
Butch Hobson - 12/10/2008 2:01:00 PM EST
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