One of the more startling moments during CBS CEO Les Moonves chat at the PricewaterhouseCoopers media outlook conference Tuesday was when he compared his company to Yahoo, but in a favorable way.
He contends that Wall Street doesn’t give CBS enough recognition for its expansion into new media. The company’s stock is basically unchanged from where it was when the company separated from the rest of Viacom (MTV Networks and Paramount) in January. (Count your blessings, Les: Viacom’s stock has dropped 10%).
Why is CBS’s stock so sluggish? “There’s a perception, that we are old media,” Moonves told PricewaterhouseCoopers’ media outlook conference in We’re stuck in the old days of being the network of Edward R. Murrow and Murder She Wrote. When I came to CBS Angela Lansbury was the sexiest woman we had. There’s the perception that `they’re old broadcast, and old radio and old outdoor.’”
He proclaimed that he’s done a slew of new media deals in recent weeks: an agreement to offer CBS shows through Comcast’s cable video on demand systems; a similar one though Google video; putting the NCAA tournament on CBS’s own website; launching broadband video site Innertube.
“Sure, the bulk of our money is made on the television network and radio stations, Moonves says, adding that “we are able to take what is delivering great cash flow and taking our content – whether it be news, whether it be sports, whether it be entertainment – and delivering it all over the place and getting paid in new ways for it. As soon as we get that story out there, as soon as people buy that we’re as cool as Yahoo is, even though we’re called CBS, I think people will give us more credit on our stock.”
By JOHN M. HIGGINS