SBD/September 5, 2013/Media

CBS' Les Moonves Says NFL Was Key Factor In Net Reaching Deal With TWC

Moonves said he knew CBS and TWC would settle before the NFL began
CBS President & CEO Les Moonves yesterday discussed the carriage deal between CBS and Time Warner Cable, saying, "I'm sure the public resents both sides and feels like it's two big companies fighting it out. However, it was important that we take a stand." Appearing on CNBC's "Squawk Box," he added the start of the NFL season "had a lot to do with our settling." Moonves: "It's not just ironic that we settled six days before the NFL season began. We sort of knew that would happen and the power of the NFL is great." Moonves said CBS pays the NFL a "huge amount of money, but we get great return for that because it is the most popular entertainment on television and they're great partners to have" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 9/4).

BACK TO THE BARGAINING TABLE: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Sharma & Ramachandran write Dish Network Chair & CEO Charlie Ergen "has long railed against the high cost of sports on TV," and now he "has a chance to do something about it." Dish's agreement to carry ESPN "expires at the end of September," and Dish and the Walt Disney Co. now are "in negotiations on a renewal for the agreement, which dates back" to '05. But Ergen last month "hinted at his willingness to use what some might see as the nuclear option -- going without Disney's channels permanently." Ergen said that "taking a 'really long-term view,' a pay-TV provider could offer TV service without sports channels." Ergen: "We're prepared to go either way." Dropping ESPN "would be a tough call" for Ergen. Lazard Capital Markets senior analyst Barton Crockett said, "No one is going to be a meaningful player in this industry without carrying ESPN" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/5).
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