LAS VEGAS--Executives in the pay-TV industry that are still sore about Les Moonves' decision to launch several over-the-top platforms shouldn't expect any apologies from the CBS Corp. CEO.
Delivering an often glib address at the Brand Matters keynote conversation with MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Moonves delivered this haymaker while referring to his company's new 24-hour streaming news channel:
"We call it the Cable Bypass News Channel," he said.
And he didn't stop there: "It doesn't hurt," Moonves added, "to be able to tell an MVPD we have other means of getting our content out there besides you."
Taking a break from breaking the softer parts of his pay-TV constituents, Moonves described the run-up to the launch of OTT services CBSN and CBS All-Access.
He said he was approached about the OTT launches by Jim Lanzone, president and CEO of CBS Interactive, about 18 months ago.
"Being the old school guy, I came up with 12 reasons why we shouldn't do it," Moonves said.
He changed his mind, he explained, when he observed the demand for CBS programming including NFL games, on IP devices.
"It was the realization that there are 10 million broadband-only homes," Moonves said. "That was the main reason … This over-the-top offering enables everyone to watch our shows wherever."
He added, "We don't care where you watch our content or when you watch our content."
Addressing a wide range of topics, Moonves said he was excited about the social media possibilities of having comedian Stephen Colbert take over David Letterman's Late Show seat.
And as a programmer, he touted the dominion of content over technology. "We have a saying," he explained. "Wireless is useless if you're hitless."
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