Moonves says CBS will stay in radio; not in acquisition mode


“There is still value in radio,” CBS Corporation CEO Les Moonves told a Bank of America-Merrill Lynch investor conference. And while he likes the company’s current mix of businesses, don’t look for CBS to be making any major acquisition.

The LA Times Business Blog posted details of Moonves comments when he was interviewed by BoA/Merrill analyst Jessica Reif Cohen.

While Moonves remains committed to radio, that commitment only extends to the top 10 markets. He indicated that the company is still interested in selling more of its stations outside those top markets. But CBS Outdoor is not for sale, despite all the talk from JCDecaux about how much it would like to buy either Clear Channel Outdoor or CBS Outdoor.

Moonves repeated comments from his last quarterly conference call that the scatter market is strong. So while CBS sold only about 65% of its inventory in the Upfront, he’s looking for Q4 scatter pricing to be higher than a year ago.

What about Jay Leno? Moonves told Reif Cohen that NBC has just found a “different way of playing the game.” He apparently didn’t repeat earlier comments that CBS will beat NBC in the ratings for the 10-11 pm hour every night that Leno is on.

RBR/TVBR observation:
Actually, we’re betting that Jay Leno will score big numbers tonight and probably win the hour. But that’s the excitement of something new. Watch for a huge drop-off tomorrow. The question is, where will the new daily primetime talk show find its baseline?