Speaking Wednesday afternoon at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, CBS Corporation CEO Les Moonves said Q3 is pacing just as strong as was reported for Q2. He also gave an early look into Q1 of 2011.
“Inventory right now is so scarce that what’s happening is, even if there was no political we would still be up in the mid-20s, very strong. What is happening right now is the inventory’s getting pushed a little further out. So that means that even though there may not be available inventory, some of it will be pushed into later in November and December and we now see visibility into the first quarter and it remains very strong,” Moonves told the gathering.
The CBS CEO said network scatter is currently up 30% over the upfront and up 15% from a year ago. “I really don’t understand a planner who waits two months and pays 30% more for their advertising,” Moonves marveled, but said he’s happy to take their money.
Local continues to be just as strong as it was in Q2. Political doesn’t hurt, he noted, but he insisted that the CBS local TV stations are up in the mid-20 percent area excluding political and CBS Radio is up in the high single digits.
Moonves is even looking for local TV to post growth in 2011, despite the lack of federal elections, because demand for advertising is so strong.
CBS is counting on reverse comp from affiliates to grow each year as retransmission consent revenues grow for the industry. Asked about the deals being cut with affiliates, Moonves said the contracts vary. “As the contracts come up these deals are all falling into place. Not all stations are created equal, or all station groups. Some are stronger than others. It’s very important to us that our affiliate body stays strong. It’s important to us that they make very good [retrans] deals. So, it depends on the market. It depends on the company. Each deal is very different. It should be a substantial part of our revenue profile in the upcoming years,” Moonves said.