NFL Coming to CBS All Access? Sure Seems Like It

Leslie Moonves - H 2014
AP Images

Leslie Moonves - H 2014

"The value is in the content; the distribution — we're agnostic," said CBS Corp. COO Joe Ianniello.

CBS hinted again that NFL games could eventually be offered on its CBS All Access, its $5.99 per month streaming service, though the price would need to rise.

"The math, from where we sit, is pretty exciting," said CBS Corp. COO Joe Ianniello. "There's definitely upside value. The $6 seems to be the right price point without it, and we'll see where it goes if we can obtain it. But it's going to be win-win. It will be a win for the NFL, a win for CBS and a win for the consumer. … There's absolutely value in that product."

Ianniello was speaking at Nomura's Media & Telecom Conference. Negotiations with the NFL are obviously progressing slowly, as CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said five months ago that it was his goal to put NFL games on CBS All Access.

A CBS insider later told The Hollywood Reporter that negotiations are indeed underway, but it's likely too late to get NFL games on CBS All Access this season.

Naturally, Ianniello on Thursday was asked about a brutal "deflategate" of media stocks last week that began when Walt Disney said its media networks business would grow slower than anticipated, then Viacom said its domestic ad revenue had fallen. Cord-cutting and skinny bundles are the culprits.

"Things always move slower than anticipated," Ianniello said, suggesting the stock market reaction to Disney and Viacom was extreme. Nevertheless, CBS is poised for success no matter which direction the industry goes, Ianniello said Thursday, considering it has CBS All Access, it licenses its content to competing streaming services and its network is too popular to be left out of cable bundles no matter how much they shrink.

"Any successful new tier, new package, we're going to be part of it," he said.

CBS All Access, in fact, in some ways can even be considered a better proposition than CBS on traditional television, given it gets $5.99 per sub on the streaming service and only about $2 a sub in fees. Plus, users can't fast-forward commercials on CBS All Access and CBS gets just as much from advertisers on a CPM basis.

"The value is in the content; the distribution — we're agnostic," Ianniello said.

He added, though, that CBS intends to spread its content around without giving any single outside service all of it, so that the total CBS package is only available through CBS. 

Without divulging numbers, he said CBS All Access has more subscribers than SlingTV, the skinny bundle, streaming service from Dish Network. What users love most about CBS All Access, he said, is the ability to catch up on episodes they have missed.

He also defended Netflix from assertions it is a monopoly by noting CBS gets far more revenue by licensing its content internationally than it does from licensing it to Netflix.