CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves won't say exactly how many subscribers his company's new over-the-top platform, CBS All Access, has. But he did say the service has surpassed Sling TV, the new OTT platform launched by Dish Network last month, which has reportedly gathered more than 100,000 customers.
Speaking Monday morning at the Deutsche Bank Media, Technology & Telecom Conference in Palm Beach, Fla., Moonves also said CBS is close to signing deals with affiliate stations for the OTT service, which would extend its coverage beyond the larger markets in which CBS has owned and operated stations.
"It'll be throughout the country in a few months," he said.
Meanwhile, broaching the topic of licensing out-of-home streaming rights to pay-TV operators looking to expand their TV Everywhere reach, Moonves said CBS has an advantage over other networks in that it hasn't sold any of its out-of-home streaming rights yet.
"If people want them, they have to renegotiate with us," he said "That means our [retransmission rights] number is going to go up in each one of those markets, because they're going to have to pay a certain amount per sub to get these out-of-home rights, which are becoming more and more important."
Also, after predicting the death of the "500-channel bundle" and the DVR, Moonves moved onto the topic of pay-TV consolidation, and whether CBS needs to merge with another programming conglomerate, such as Viacom, in order to achieve enough leverage to compete.
"Yes, they'll be stronger and more powerful," Moonves said. "But I feel like we have quite a bit of clout right now. They can't live without us, and we can't live without them. Whether we're negotiating with Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) alone, or Comcast that now includes Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), I don't see the world as any different. I don't see any way that we can consolidate in the near or distant future unless it's under terms that are really favorable to us."
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