During a quarterly earnings conference call this week, CBS Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves was faced with the age-old question “would you want to be on the Apple TV?” His answer? Yes. Followed by a lot of ifs.
Anthony J. DiClemente, an analyst with Barclays Capital’s Research Division, told
Moonves, “You — I’m sure — you may have seen that Apple TV added Hulu onto its platform this week.”
“I’m just wondering, when you think about Apple, are you in any way philosophically opposed to offering CBS on the Apple TV platform?” he said.
Before Moonves could even open his mouth to say anything, DiClemente rushed to clarify that, “just from prior experience, I’m sure your answer will have something to do with getting paid for your content.”
“But more specifically, is there anything you need to see or specifically anything you need to get in order to be convinced that that’s a smart strategy for CBS?” he said.
As DiClemente was visibly keen on getting a concrete answer, Les Moonves replied, “Look, Anthony, you’ve — we’ve had this discussion many times before.”
Great start! Makes you really anticipate the new stuff he’s willing to disclose this time around. Jokes aside…
“You’re right,” he continued, “it depends what the terms are, it depends what we get paid for. It depends on what effect Apple TV would have on either our advertising, our syndication or our retrans, which are our 3 main buckets of revenue for our content.”
He noted that, "if it sits in well, like Netflix did and Amazon did, we’re happy to discuss it. If it doesn’t and we’re — they’re using our content to build a business, we’re not quite as favorable to that."
Moonves admitted that "the devil is in the details," and that even though his reply may sound like "a pat answer," he believed it was "really true."