CBS Chairman and CEO Les Moonves isn’t concerned with the wave of cord-cutting that is inflicting serious pain on many cable channel owners and providers. He’s cashing in on it — and putting one of TV’s iconic shows on CBS’ over-the-top streaming service, CBS All Access.
On CBS’ third-quarter earnings call Thursday afternoon, Moonves revealed that a “Twilight Zone” reboot will be aired exclusively on All Access.
“Where others worry about cord cutters, we don’t,” Moonves said on the call. “Where others are losing subs to cord cutters, we’re growing.”
CBS embraced TV’s streaming future early on, launching CBS All Access in 2014 as well as a Showtime-branded streaming service the following year. And Moonves has hardly treated them like stepchildren to its flagship broadcast network, putting NFL games on All Access and making it the exclusive home of “Star Trek: Discovery.” Moonves said the premiere of “Discovery” and its second episode led to the two biggest days of sign-ups to All Access in its history.
“Over the top is a more profitable business model,” Moonves said.
As a result, while competitors like Disney’s ESPN have shed tens of millions of subscribers over the past few years, Moonves said CBS has experienced the opposite trajectory when combining traditional cable subscribers, those who use “skinny bundles” like Google’s YouTube TV and All Access subscribers, CBS has actually grown its base.
“Cord-cutting is an opportunity here at CBS,” Moonves said.
CBS is also launching a sports-focused streaming service in the next few months and has plans to expand All Access overseas, starting with Canada and followed by Australia.
“As consumers cut the cord and go over the top, the economics get better for us,” Moonves said. “When a consumer switches from a traditional to a skinny bundle we get double the fees. When they go to CBS All Access, that sometimes triples.”