CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves flew the broadcast flag before jittery investors in New York last week, repeatedly asserting that the company is exceptionally well-positioned both for the uncertain economic landscape now and for the sunnier days down the road.
Moonves acknowledged that the broadcast business is in a state of serious flux as online consumption increases dramatically, adding that recent moves in the interactive space, such as the company's acquisition of CNET, put CBS in a strong position.
Coupling a growing Web business—Moonves forecast $650 million in interactive revenue this year—with traditional television had the CBS boss bullish on the business.
Moonves spoke at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia XVII Conference on Sept. 17. In between presentations, shell-shocked bankers traded theories on the demise of Lehman Bros. and bailout of AIG. Moonves referenced the crises right off the bat: "It's an interesting week to be here," he told his interviewer, Mark Wienkes. "Can I ask you questions?"
Moonves said political spending was heating up at the CBS-owned stations and stressed that it's historically a fourth-quarter event, not a third-quarter one. He predicted a $150 million political windfall at the stations, particularly those in Pennsylvania, Florida and California.