Moonves Won’t Reveal Numbers for All Access

CBS CEO: OTT Service 'Ahead of Projections’
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CBS’s normally talkative CEO Les Moonves declined to say how many people have subscribed to the company’s over-the-top service.

Speaking at the 42d annual UBS media conference on Tuesday, Moonves would say only that CBS All Access was “ahead of projections,” but acknowledged that could mean as few as 10 subscribers.

“I’ve been extremely impressed with the product,” he said, adding that its subscriber base would grow as more affiliates sign up to provide a live feed of their stations’ programming over broadband. He added that the price of the service could change when CBS’ NFL games are added. He also said other content providers had inquired about making their programming part of the package.

Pressed for a hard number of subscribers, Moonves replied, “When Netflix tells you how many people are watching House of Cards, we’ll tell you how many subscribers we have.”

Moonves was also pleased with another new digital product CBSN, the online news channel. He noted that viewership went up when the Ferguson, Mo., story broke.

The goal with All Access — as well as a Showtime over-the-top service to be introduced next year — is for CBS to be prepared for the future. But Moonves said that CBS didn’t want to go around the cable operators and other distributors it currently works with.