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MOONVES URGES CABLERS TO DROP NETWORKS NO ONE WATCHES

October 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Les Moonves

CBS chief Les Moonves has urged cable operators to change their business model if they wish to cut costs — stop making package deals with giant media corporations to carry dozens of channels that no one watches. “The truth is that he who has the most eyeballs wins,” Moonves said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, days following the announcement that he had extended his contract until 2017. “If that means eliminating some of the smaller channels, then so be it.” Significantly, CBS is conspicuously absent from cable TV aside from its Showtime pay-TV channel, a small sports network, and the Smithsonian Networks. Moonves also foresaw the possibility of viewers rejecting broadcast and cable entirely and grabbing their programs from the Internet. He suggested that the company is making plans to meet such a contingency. “We like the system now and we are being adequately paid for it,” Moonves said. “But if the universe changes and they [viewers] want us to bring the content directly to them, then we can.” In the same interview Moonves confirmed widespread reports that CBS has an eye on Sony’s film and TV businesses should they become available as the company attempts to regain profitability. “We love our current portfolio, but as a content company, we would want to look at them,” Moonves told the Journal. He insisted, however, that no negotiations with Sony were currently underway.