Moonves advises MVPDs on channel lineup policy


Les MoonvesCBS’s contract-extended leader Les Moonves has a piece of advice for cable, satellite and telco MVPDs complaining about the high cost of programming: Save some money by cutting those channels that are attracting insufficient eyeballs. One of them, he assures, will not be CBS.

Studies back up what Moonves is saying – analyst believe that broadcast content is still coming at bargain prices, despite frequent MVPD claims that broadcasters are holding them up for outrageous retransmission fee hikes.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Moonves simply stated that the ones with the most eyeballs are the winners. “If that means eliminating some of the smaller channels, then so be it.”
He noted that high-quality CBS program offerings make his network a must-have channel for any MVPD.

He also said that CBS is quite content with its current distribution models, but also said that the company is ready to embrace internet and mobile distribution platforms if cord-cutting or some other development threatens those platforms.

Moonves has also indicated that his company would be interested in possibly expanding into the movie business – in the form of snapping up Sony’s studio business, should it come on the market.

RBR-TVBR observation: Shouldn’t viewers rather than conglomerate negotiators be picking the winners and losers? If very few people watch Channels X, Y and Z, why are they on the lineup? Oh yeah, they’re co-owned with Channel A, and everybody loves Channel A. So Channel A was able to use that leverage to force X, Y and Z on us whether we want them or not.

Consumers end up paying for channels they program their remotes to ignore, and MVPDs complain about the high cost of programming while being coerced into carrying weak channels.

This household just cut back cable service – why pay extra for programming we simply do not watch?

One thing is certain: Nielsen ratings week in and week out prove that Moonves is correct. People do watch their local broadcast stations and the network programming they receive through them. And government bodies have a vested interest in protecting local broadcasters since they form the backbone of America’s emergency information system.

We do seem to be rushing towards a program cost tipping point, but we think things like sports channels and bundling are much bigger issues than retransmission consent for local broadcasting.