CBS Chief Leslie Moonves Explains ‘Star Trek’ Strategy for CBS All Access

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Courtesy of CBS

CBS Corp. said net income rose in the third quarter when compared to adjusted results, boosted in part by subscription and affiliate fees, even as overall revenue dipped slightly.

The New York owner of the Showtime cable network and the CBS broadcast-television network said third-quarter profit rose 6.5% to $426 million, or 88 cents a share, compared with $1.6 billion, or $3.08 a share a year earlier when the company notched substantial gains resulting from the sale of its outdoor-advertising business. Net earnings from continuing operations in the year-earlier period were $72 million, or 13 cents a share.

Revenue fell 3.3% to $3.26 billion from $3.37 billion, due to lower advertising and content licensing revenue.

During a conference call Tuesday, CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said the company was poised to benefit from what he said was an active market for TV advertising. Moonves said CBS had held back inventory in the most recent “upfront” market, and could sell it for higher “scatter” pricing.

He also indicated CBS was prepared to develop additional original programming for its on-demand broadband “CBS All Access” service. The company announced Monday it was developing a new “Star Trek” series that would run only on “All Access” after getting a debut on the company’s broadcast network.

“I’m confident this is going to be a world-class effort that will make all ‘Star Trek’ fans very proud,” said Moonves. “These are some of the most passionate fans in the world, and we can see millions of them joining All Access, where they can watch these new episodes wherever they want and whenever they want and on whatever device they want to use, which is increasingly consistent with how younger viewers are watching our shows.”

At the company’s largest division, which includes its TV-broadcasting business, revenue rose 1% to $1.93 billion, compared with $1.91 billion in the year-earlier period, owing to a 55% increase in affiliate and subscription fees. Advertising revenues at the CBS network rose 1% despite the broadcast of fewer sporting events in the period compared with the year-earlier quarter.

Revenue for the third quarter at the company’s cable operations came to $526 million, compared with $624 million in the year-earlier quarter. ,The company cited comparisons with the year-earlier quarter, when it had higher revenue from pay-per-view boxing events.

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  1. Dave Creek says:

    I’m looking to pay less for TV, not more. I understand these are individual business making decisions they think best for themselves, but if they look at the big picture, how many streaming services can one person of moderate income afford? I have Dish Network, Amazon, and Netflix, and I’m maxed out. I watched the original TREK first-run (yes, I’m old) as well as all the others, but I may have to skip this one. Or at least wait until it runs somewhere else. I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t show up on Blu-Ray or as a rental or on another network in syndication, even if that takes years.

    More likely, I think CBS All Access will die and they’ll end up burning off these new TREKs on Saturday night on the actual network. Which would be a shame.

    Assuming I ever do get to see it, I hope the CBS folks consider using writer/producers such as Ron Moore, Manny Coto, and Melissa Snodgrass to write scripts — people who have already proven their worth on the show. And original Trek writers such as David Gerrold, D.C. Fontana, and Harlan Ellison are still with us! And they should consider recruiting print writers, as Roddenberry did. It would be simple to contact the Science Fiction Writers of America organization to recruit them.

    Either way, I hope they would look at excellence in script writing as the most important part of the show. A good storyline still has people watching TOS despite the clunky effects and sets and the sometimes hammy Shatner performances.

  2. Jacques Strappe says:

    Les Moonves explaining anything is always good for a few laughs.

  3. billybobby says:

    The strategy is failure.

    Who is going to PAY to watch CBS shows? Old, stale, retreads……and Star Trek.

    Hilarious!!!

  4. Concerned Customer says:

    Cbs all access sucks, like really sucks. Arrogant, clunky and in no way well developed enough to compete with Hulu. They are trying to force streaming customers to pay for their shoddy interface. But the other options look more appealing: either pirate it or boycott cbs programming. They have a good lineup for broadcast tv. Why don’t they just bite the bullet and allow a larger, better designed streaming site host their content?? Instead of forcing that clunky thing on customers. It’s either take the smaller percentage from letting hulu host your shows, or lose everytime in the 18-30 demographic.

  5. Jacques Strappe says:

    Moonves is the epitome of arrogance and stupidity. A Star Trek reboot on their All Access network will not drive enough new subscriptions to make a difference. Period. CBS sucks!

  6. Del_Duio says:

    I’m hoping that the near universal negative comments I’ve been reading everywhere on this pay to watch on CBS whosiewhatsis B.S. will change their minds and just have the thing on regular CBS TV. Hey, anything can happen!

  7. Adam says:

    This strategy will fail. Obviously CBS is doing this because they don’t think that a new Star Trek show will get high enough ratings on their tv network and they are most likely correct. However, CBS All Access does not have the clout of Netflix. People are not going ot be lining up to pay a monthly fee to watch a new Star Trek show. At least not in any significant amount.

  8. Lyndon @ CLS says:

    I think their mistake was assuming that Star Trek fans aren’t some of the more technologically savvy out there, I’d expect high piracy rates. It’s also strange to push those new Star Trek fans (who came in through the films) into a service that they might not have any interest in paying for. Seems like a turn off.

  9. LarryB says:

    “…we can see millions of them joining All Access…”
    What Moonves is Actually saying: “…we can Force millions of them into joining All Access…”

    Ha! How transparent can you get?

  10. DJGray says:

    What will it be a Deep Space Nine, a Voyager ? Just let the show go, there has been enough damage to this old favorite. And now pay extra to see it ? And what other show is worth paying for from CBS?
    Nope. Not this old Star Trek fan, not my money, not even a dime per view.

  11. Todd Madar says:

    OR…they could just give you a big FU and download the show for free in the interwebs! Sorry…big turn-OFF for this long time Trekkie! :(

  12. A picture is worth a thousand words ? says:

    Do the declining Supergirl ratings have anything to do with this article?

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