Leslie Moonves Calls Time Warner Cable Letter 'A Well-Wrought Distraction'

Hilary Lewis
CBS Corp. Stock Gains After Time Warner Cable Carriage Deal

CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves has responded to the letter he received from Time Warner Cable head Glenn Britt on Monday, calling it a "well-wrought distraction" that doesn't contain "a sincere or helpful proposal" to end Time Warner Cable's blackout of CBS stations.

He also claims he has not heard from Time Warner Cable or Britt apart from the publicized letter, which Moonves said he was upset was simultaneously released to the media

"It made me suspect that the document was not, as I hoped, a sincere offer, but rather a public relations gesture of some kind," the CBS CEO writes.

Moonves notes that Britt has CBS' actual proposal, including terms, economics and rights agreements. The company never received a mark-up or reply to anything contained in the proposal and has not heard from anyone at Time Warner Cable apart from Britt's "public letter masquerading as a private one," he writes. "That's not negotiating. That's grandstanding."

Moonves also claims Britt's offer to go a la carte is "an empty gesture" and that sort of cable-subscription model "is not one that Time Warner Cable welcomes."

"We view your so-called proposal, then, as nothing more than an attempt to muddy the water and confuse the public discussion," Moonves writes.

Moonves points out that CBS has reached deals without incident with other cable operators and satellite providers.

"You already pay ten networks on your channel lineup more than you compensate CBS, all of which have far fewer viewers," he writes. "What we are looking for, have always been looking for, is fair compensation for our content. CBS is the most popular programmer in the world. Showtime has content that is the most sought-after  in  the  business.  Why  can’t  you  see  your  way clear  to  honestly  paying for what your customers value most?"

He closes by urging Britt to return to the negotiating table.