CBS boss sees higher retrans and higher upfront


Les MoonvesCBS Corporation CEO Les Moonves has been busy this week with investor conferences, speaking to both Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank. He had a lot to say about new revenue streams, which have reduced the company’s dependence on advertising.

“It’s a great time to be CBS,” Moonves said of the TV network, noting that CBS had fewer spots to fill in its schedule to fill than its peers, so its costs for pilots are lower. That might even leave the company with leeway to produce an original series for an online company, such as Netflix. And Moonves denied that CBS is going to soon need a “content refresh” soon, saying that the NCIS franchise is still strong and The Big Bang Theory is still young.

Q1 scatter demand has been better than Q4 and Moonves said pricing is up 15% over the Upfront. As for the upcoming Upfront for next Fall, he said CBS should be up double digits and the network is willing to sell over 80% of its inventory if pricing is right.

There was some mention of CBS Radio, with local radio ad sales still pacing up low single digits. CBS Outdoor is doing even better, up mid single digits. Local TV is also pacing up mid single digits.

Moonves is gung-ho on selling content to new outlets, such as Netflix, where the company has an option to “’put” shows to Netflix for a fixed fee as they come off the air. And he called TV everywhere “spectacular,” as a way to increase viewing by putting CBS content on multiple screens.

He is likewise gung-ho on retransmission consent payments from cable/satellite companies to the CBS O&O TV stations and reverse comp from the network’s affiliates.