Moonves says CBS better positioned for OTT future than Disney, ESPN

Moonves says CBS better positioned for OTT future than Disney, ESPN”

As for CBS' own over-the-top offerings - CBS All Access and Showtime OTT, which are on track to have 4 million subscribers by year-end - Moonves highlighted an advantage other than the additional revenue stream they provide.

"When ESPN or Comcast announce they are losing subs, that is a good thing for us", said Leslie Moonves, chairman and president of CBS, at an investor conference in NY on Thursday. But his latest thoughts on TV's future are particularly direct.

And Moonves says CBS is apart of every "important" skinny bundle package and that the network stands to make even more money.

"Some say the big bundle will be around for a while". Over the top is going to get bigger and bigger-definitely right.

Moonves noted that the economics of OTT services benefit content owners like CBS who've embraced new distribution models.

"When ESPN or Comcast (CMCSA) announces it's losing subs, that's a good thing for CBS", he said. They're not going no where. These cord cutters, they're not disappearing, they are not going nowhere, they are not cutting their cord and going into the woods and avoiding television. They're not doing that. "They're just going to other services", he said.

In part, he says, this is due to high growth in retransmission/carriage fees, revenue from new OTT platforms and money from traditional TV content deals made with worldwide networks/providers.

"With the new skinny bundles, we're starting on a level playing field", he said.

"So all this movement that's out there, when [Disney CEO] Bob Iger says oh we're going to be flat or Comcast says our subs are declining".

As for the decline in cable TV subscribers, Moonves argued, the trend toward digital platforms and away from traditional pay-TV has been a net positive for CBS. "We need them to measure delayed viewing, which becomes a bigger and bigger piece of the pie".

"We're going direct to consumers", Moonves said.

Moonves also tweaked Disney and ESPN in talking about CBS's upcoming sports news streaming service. CBS is planning to launch its own direct-to-consumer sports service, which he said would focus on highlights and game scores. "We have a ton of content, we have a ton of on-air announcers". We did it with news.

"We think there's a place in the marketplace for straight, factual, clips, highlights, scores", Moonves said.

And he targeted Disney subsidiary ESPN in hyping CBS's coming over-the-top service for sports. While older generations of sports fans might lament that ESPN has deviated from news, younger consumers who spend all day on social media see no reason to turn on the physical TV to get information that's already in their palms. I want to see whether the Dodgers or the Yankees won last night and often it takes 20 minutes to get that.

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