Last week, CBS CEO Les Moonves gave us an idea of his company’s attitude toward the increasing demand for online streaming of television content. On the subject of online content, Moonves had this to say (via Engadget):
We — frankly, we don’t believe in them. We’re not going to go out and we’ve sort of — we’ve even been against joining Apple TV, which was an advertiser split. And these deals are significant in that we are getting guaranteed cash payment. We like operating on that basis. And as you said, we’ve been able to do deals worth hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars on that basis. That is our position right now. Will we ever make a statement that, that never could happen? I wouldn’t right now because we don’t know how the world evolves, but I like the way we played our hand and getting this guaranteed revenue stream is a good way to go.
While the rest of us may see the benefit of changing the way television programming is delivered, this high-powered CEO’s only concern is how much money he’ll make for stockholders for the next three or four quarters. Looking past that just isn’t in his job description, but what’s needed for his company to survive as the paradigm shifts. The current model of television programming distribution has been around for over half a century, with few tweaks between the early black-and-white days and today. But the times are a-changin’. Fewer people, myself included, get their programming through time-honored cable, satellite, or antenna delivery. Advertisers have already begun to realize that they aren’t getting the same return on their advertising dollar.
Eventually, CBS will come around like all the other stragglers. They’ll have to; streaming content isn’t going away. Maybe Les Moonves will be at the company’s helm, or maybe it’ll take a younger CEO to see the inevitability of the shift and the benefit of helping shape the change rather than trying to stop it.