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CBS CEO: ‘We Want a Healthy Netflix’

6 Dec, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

CBS CEO Les Moonves Dec. 6 said a healthy and robust Netflix is vital to deriving incremental license revenue from the emerging subscription video-on-demand channel.

Speaking Dec. 6 at the USB 39th annual Global Technology and Communications conference in New York, Moonves said recent streaming deals with Netflix have driven bottom line growth for the network.

CBS this year also secured streaming deals with Amazon Prime, coupled with a digital distribution pact with Hulu Plus for repurposed content from The CW, in which CBS owns a 50% stake.

“Obviously, we want a healthy Netflix,” Moonves said. “All the conversation about whether Netflix was friend or foe, from our point of view they have become much more of a friend than foe. And we’re rooting for them.”

The CEO said he sees unlimited incremental revenue through Netflix and other SVOD services, adding that Netflix’s expansion into Latin America, Canada and the United Kingdom next year are a good thing.

“We hope their business thrives,” Moonves said.

Indeed, Netflix will spend upwards of $2 billion on content acquistions in 2012, CEO Reed Hastings said during a separate keynote.

When asked if he was concerned about a slowdown in sub growth at Netflix, which could put the brakes on the license agreement cash cow, Moonves said he wasn’t.

“Maybe they’ve slowed down their desire to go further [than Latin America and the United Kingdom] until some of these things come to fruition,” Moonves said. “We’re very excited about Netflix in Canada and the U.K.”

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