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CBS CEO: Netflix Originals No Threat to Content Deals

12 Sep, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

CBS CEO Les Moonves

CBS renews 'Under the Dome' multiplatform distribution deal with Amazon

With its lineup of network shows earmarked for Netflix after their primetime broadcast runs, scuttlebutt suggests CBS might be concerned regarding the subscription video-on-demand pioneer’s move toward original programming.

Not so, according to CEO Les Moonves, who told an investor group in Beverly Hills, Calif., that Netflix’s bulk content license deal with the network is not on a shaky ground.

In July, CBS upped its agreement to includes seasons of “Jericho,” “Medium,” “Flashpoint,” “L.A. Complex,” “4400,” “CSI: NY,” “America's Next Top Model,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “The L Word,” “Undercover Boss,” “United States of Tara,” “The Tudors” and “I Love Lucy,” among others.

“[Netflix] has bought thousands of hours of programming from us. I don’t think [Netflix originals] will affect that. Obviously, original programing is becoming important to them … and they’ve been successful with some of their shows. But we continue to have a long-term deal with them,” Moonves said.

The CEO said CBS’ bulk content license agreement with Netflix included the right for both parties to swap out programming during the course of the deal in order to minimize the number of less popular shows.

“Some of [the] product hasn’t worked, and they’ve taken on other shows,” Moonves said.

The executive said that within the network (and Showtime) there are regular “content monetization” meetings whereby new and emerging distribution channels for existing and catalog programming domestically and abroad are discussed.

He said Netflix continues to take on individual CBS programming, with an eye toward replicating the network’s landmark deal with Amazon Prime Instant Video for “Under the Dome” — the summer’s most-watched TV series.

Moonves said Amazon renewed the agreement, whereby it gained exclusive streaming access to the serialized drama’s episodes four days after their broadcast. “Under the Dome,” which premiered on CBS in June, was watched on broadcast and cable by 14.8 million viewers, and was also the No. 1 broadcast series for adults 18 to 49 and 25 to 54. On Amazon, the first episode of “Dome” was the most-watched TV premiere in the history of Prime Instant Video, and the show was watched by more customers of the service than any other series this summer, according to CBS.

“They obviously like the [business] model,” Moonves said. “There’s a lot of trial and error going on. This one obviously worked. [But] perhaps the big bulk library [license ] deal changes in the future, but we expect it to.”

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