CBS CEO spurned Steve Jobs’ offer to participate in television service

“CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said Saturday that he was approached about a year ago by Steve Jobs to provide content for Apple’s long-rumored television service but he declined to participate,” Matthew Belloni reports for The Hollywood reporter.

“Moonves told a conference audience that he met with Jobs, the late Apple CEO, and heard a pitch for what was billed as a subscription content service, but ultimately he said he wasn’t interested in providing CBS shows or films to the venture,” Belloni reports. “‘I told Steve, ‘You know more than me about 99 percent of things but I know more about the television business,” Moonves said, citing his concerns about providing content to a service that could disrupt CBS’ existing revenue streams.

Belloni reports, “Moonves said Jobs, in characteristic fashion, strongly disagreed with his assessment.”

“Moonves said he was bullish on political advertising from Super- PACs fueling the bottom line at CBS-owned stations,” Belloni reports. “‘It may be bad for America but it’s good for CBS,’ Moonves joked.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Someday, someway, we will end up with a system that’s a lot closer to Steve Jobs’ vision than that of Les Moonves.

40 Comments

      1. Depends if you followed the Superbowl. Or how you define “mattered”–they have a number of very popular shows but that doesn’t make them “matter” any more (or less) than ABC, NBC, Fox, etc.

    1. Belloni reports. “‘It may be bad for America but it’s good for CBS,’ Moonves joked.”

      Right there, that is the problem. Corporate interests are not inline what so ever with the betterment of the country. You can actually do both. But this guy is taking the easy path toward revenue and has blinders on when it comes to the future of network television. When Moonves says Steve Jobs knows 99% of things but I know more about the television business,” He not thinking beyond next quarter’s revenue. What a douche bag.

      His type of thinking is thinking only inside the cubicle. Think different, Moonves and learn from the music industries past hubris. Generating income from super PACs does not sound like a sustainable model. Moonves, do you want to sell the agenda’s of super PACs or change the world?

  1. I like a lot of the CBS shows myself, but CBS is one of the worst to try and watch online.
    No iPad app, although haven’t looked in a while.
    NBC and ABC both have streaming apps… And a lot easier to watch those shows online.

    CBS just wants more money.

  2. Crazy to see the TV business so happy to provide support for Netflix but not for a subscription-based TV service on iTunes. Shows they’re willing to experiment, but only if there’s no chance of actually changing anything.

  3. The music industry thought the same thing. What could Steve Jobs possibly know about the music industry? Now it’s happening with TV. Those like Les Moonves and others may not like where their industry is headed but more and more options are now available that don’t require you to purchase 740 channels for $160 per month.

  4. As a “content provider” (I own a small weekly newspaper), I can understand the pause that these CEOs exhibit when it comes to paradigm shifts. In my business, we’ve watched as daily newspapers guessed wrong with the Internet. Frankly, they gave away too much content and devalued their product in the process. No one things they should have to pay for stories anymore. It’s a long story, but they also relied too heavily on syndicated content, which left them with very little differentiation.

    I’ve sat back and watched this happen, and as a result my website isn’t very good on purpose. I don’t give much away, and soon my e-edition will live behind a paywall. I’ve waited to launch until I knew it could at least break even for me or make a bit of money.

    That all said, these television guys need to understand that they are not the music industry or newspapers. They all have unique content for one. What they need to understand is that the shift to whatever Apple does won’t happen overnight and even if it takes off quickly (which it surely might), for many years there will still be a market for the “old” way because millions of people will move slowly toward the future.

    Had larger newspapers cherished their original content more and gone quickly to well-thought out e-publishing, the rampant devaluation of their content may not have happened. As weekly newspapers, we are all about original content and still have a fighting chance. But if we ignore the technological trends (iPads a major one), then we will get bypassed somehow. And so will large television networks if Apple makes it really easy for independent filmmakers to distribute their content and a new revenue stream opens up that makes the quality of their work competitive with “the big boys”.

    Sorry, long post. But the short-sightedness of this CEO annoys me and I think it’s going to come back to bite him. Honestly, if Apple wants to give us a new experience they ought to consider using some of their billions to produce some incredible content to show the big networks and studios what the future looks like. Or, more accurately, to show consumers what the future looks like so that they demand the big content providers follow.

    1. The problem I see with that idea is that all the traditional papers would have had to agree to protect/charge for their respective original content. As soon as one major paper published their original content for free, they all had to or else risk their content not being viewed at all as everyone flocked to the free one(s).

      One can say people would’ve paid a subscription it was worth anything, but quantity of followers of a platform/message/opinion is sometimes preferred over quality.

      1. You’re right. They all would have had to agree and they didn’t.

        With small weekly papers, we don’t have the same problem because we’re the only ones giving regular coverage to our small markets. So I only have to agree with myself.

        Same with these t.v. guys. They have to look out for their affiliates (which might be one major hurdle and could be the cause of the problem) but there are far fewer television network parent companies than there were daily newspapers.

        I guess I don’t see why they can’t set up the system so that owners of Apple televisions can’t choose between paying $1.99 for a show or watching it for free with commercials (including local commercials based on your zip code).

        If Apple is trying to make watching television easier and richer, they could offer multiple ways of getting content so long as the networks cooperated.

    2. If your content is worthy of the clicks to generate ad revenue is won’t require the pay wall. Subscription news will fail on a small scale just as it does with a large scale. Especially in these times very few people in any market are going to value your pub enough more than everything free they will find instead. Statistics show that in the case of news online viewers won’t even do as much as register to view a news site let alone pay for it. I worked for a weekly that tried putting a paywall up for much of its content resulting in almost zero participation. The content is now all free or ad based monetization. Sounds like you are going backwards.

  5. Apple TVs, magically apparently, have turned on recognising purchased DVDs added to the iTunes on iCloud. One just step closer to a decentralised torrent… er.. sharing feature on the iTunes/iCloud video library between n number of friends and Moonves and Co. will be lining up in front of the 1 infinite loop begging audience with Mr. Cook.

    1. My wife and I have a bet on how soon we will see “CSI: Boise”, wherein the crack investigators will be tracing car stereo thieves and taggers. Ryan Seacrest will be the lead investigator, and the sexy assistant will be Jessica Simpson. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    2. I gave up NCIS two years ago. On a show that always stretched credulity (like putting a trailer park in the middle of Ballston Commons, taking 5 minutes to drive from D.C. to Norfolk, or that whole Lauren Holly-Frog storyline), I just couldn’t take it anymore with the Port-to-Port Killer story arc. If I were the director of the real NCIS I’d be blowing a stack if my agency were being portrayed as dysfunctionally as NCIS portrays the NCIS.

      And Leslie needs to realize that while he sleeps the world is getting his CBS shows from BitTorrents of Canadian broadcasts.

  6. So let me see if I get this. This guy said no to a new revenue source. CBS (and any other network for that matter!) have over the air and cable and he said no to another income source; Even when Apple is the one providing the infrastructure. They most be rolling on money. Smart move there Mr. Moonves!

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