- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
CBS chief executive Les Moonves praised the Netflix series House of Cards as “brilliant” and said the network he runs has had “a number of discussions” with the streaming service about possibly teaming up for original content.
He also said Amazon, which has exclusive deals with CBS’ Under the Dome and the network’s upcoming Extant, provides a worthy streaming service. “We’ve learned not to bet against Jeff Bezos,” Moonves said of the Amazon CEO.
PHOTOS: Lorimar at 45: Leslie Moonves, Bruce Rosenblum and More Look Back
In a presentation at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in San Francisco, Moonves touched on multiple aspects of the television business, including his prediction that the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable will be approved. When it is, CBS will “meld” its retransmission contracts with the two cable companies together, Moonves said.
As CBS demands more and more in fees, Moonves said pay TV operators are strong enough to absorb the rising costs and that his goal, obviously, does not include driving them out of business. He echoed what he said last month on CNBC that Comcast understands rising retransmission fees better than others because it owns NBC.
Moonves reiterated his goal of $2 billion in retransmission fees by 2020 for CBS, up from zero “three or four years ago.” He noted that Disney’s ESPN gets about $6 per subscriber, and that’s much more than CBS gets even though CBS has roughly 10 times the audience of ESPN, Moonves said.
The CEO added he’s proud that CBS is only about 50 percent dependent on ad revenue, down from about 70 percent recently.
VIDEO: Les Moonves Thinks Comcast-Owned Time Warner Cable Will ‘Pay Appropriately’ For CBS Content
The executive also said CBS is in a great position to make acquisitions because of money it is generating from spinning off its outdoor business. At the moment, though, he’s happy to spend billions on buying back stock until the right acquisition comes along. He said CBS bought lots of stock at $34 a share while on Tuesday shares closed at $67.42.
Moonves also said the recently reached deal between Dish Network and Disney was a “win-win” for those companies, with Dish agreeing to rein in the ad-skipping ability of its Hopper DVR and Disney letting Dish put its shows on the Internet.
He suggested, though, that the terms Disney found agreeable were “not quite enough for us,” and he said he looks forward to discussions with Dish chairman Charlie Ergen.
“It will be an interesting conversation, as they always are with Charlie,” Moonves said.
CBS’ deal with Dish expires at the end of the year.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
More from The Hollywood Reporter
The Stories Behind Whitney Houston’s Unreleased Gospel Songs: “She Left Healing Music for the World”
Mindy Kaling, Bruce Springsteen, Julia Louis-Dreyfus Among Honorees of White House’s National Medals of Arts
Ed Sheeran Goes on Intimate Journey in New Disney+ Docuseries ‘Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All’
Mark Twain Prize
Adam Sandler’s Starry Friends Toast His Comic Legacy as He Receives Mark Twain Humor Prize