CBS CEO Les Moonves said his company’s bottom line was hardly impacted by the month-long retransmission consent battle with Time Warner Cable.
“Our national ad dollars did not go down. There were no such things as make-goods,” Moonves said, answering questions at the Bank of American/Merrill Lynch Media Communications & Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills.
When the blackout was over, CBS’s ratings popped back up. “There was no harm done financially to CBS Corporation.”
CBS was also paid its retrans fees retroactively, sources said.
Moonves said that the fight was necessary because CBS needed to get paid for its content, and to be able to put that content in new venues where consumers are watching.
“I’m hoping what happened here will make future negotiations less contentious,” he said.
One of the new ways CBS has monetized its content is with streaming companies like Amazon.com, which paid for part of the production of the network’s summer hit Under the Dome. Amazon had the rights to stream Under the Dome four days after its broadcast premiere, an arrangement that didn’t dampen the shows performance on CBS, with viewership of about 20 million a week.
Moonves called CBS’s number “very substantial” and that reports on viewing on Amazon were very positive. “The renewed it for next season, so obviously they like the model,” he said.
The Under the Dome deal was structured so that CBS broke even no matter what its ratings were. With the show performing so well, big profits from the show will be showing up in CBS’s earnings this quarter, he said.
Moonves was also asked about the performance of TV Guide Channel, which it is running as a joint venture with Lionsgate after acquiring a 50% interested for about $95 million. He said that adding programming like Big Brother After Dark and reruns of Young and the Restless have already boosted ratings substantially.
“It’s growing by leaps and bounds. I think the value of it has gone up 50% in six months,” he said.