CBS Corp. CEO Talks Fall Season Ratings, Netflix, Retrans Fees, Angus T. Jones

The Hollywood ReporterDecember 4, 2012
CBS Corp. CEO Talks Fall Season Ratings, Netflix, Retrans Fees, Angus T. Jones

NEW YORK - CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves on Tuesday once again touted his company's growing retransmission fee revenue and new licensing money from Netflix, while arguing that weaker early fall TV season ratings are mostly due to special factors and measurement systems that don't fully capture audiences on new platforms.

Speaking at the 40th UBS Global Media and Communications Conference here, he joked about Two and a Half Men actor Angus T. Jones' recent rant. Discussing the company's management of costs, he mentioned "that kid on Two and a Half Men who makes $300,00 per episode to talk bad about me."

Asked about Monday comments from Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt that his pay TV giant would drop weaker-performing TV networks or move them to lower carriage tiers, Moonves said that this must mean Britt would pay more for channels that do get viewed. Distributors "should pay more for the number one network," Moonves said. "You should pay for the eyeballs."

Highlighting that ESPN gets $4-plus per subscriber per month in subscriber fees, Moonves quipped that "we're going in next year for $7" with CBS. He declined to comment on the continued bundling of cable networks in pay TV carriage deals. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes earlier in the day had defended bundling.  

Discussing the weaker start to the fall TV season, Moonves said Nielsen needs to improve its measurement of viewing on new platforms.


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