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Steve Jobs Discussed Potential Television Deal with CBS CEO Les Moonves

Last November, CBS CEO Les Moonves acknowledged that his company had been in talks with Apple about a potential streaming television service, revealing that CBS had ultimately declined to support the plan due to Apple's demands that it include a split of advertising revenue between the two companies.

As noted by The Hollywood Reporter, Moonves has now added a bit more detail about those talks, revealing that they occurred at the highest levels between Steve Jobs and Moonves himself. But according to Moonves, the talks fell apart over fears of such a deal disrupting CBS's revenue streams.
Moonves told a conference audience that he met with Jobs, the late Apple CEO, and heard a pitch for what was billed as a subscription content service, but ultimately he said he wasn't interested in providing CBS shows or films to the venture.

"I told Steve, 'You know more than me about 99 percent of things but I know more about the television business,' " Moonves said, citing his concerns about providing content to a service that could disrupt CBS' existing revenue streams. Moonves said Jobs, in characteristic fashion, strongly disagreed with his assessment.
Back in late 2009, CBS and Disney were reportedly close to signing on with Apple for a television service that would have seen Apple offering a "best of television" package through the iTunes Store, but the plan was ultimately shelved as other networks refused to sign on and CBS apparently reconsidered its position. Interest is said to have been revived recently as Apple reportedly moves closer to launching its own television set, with Apple said to be pushing ahead even as it continues to meet resistance from content providers.

Related roundup: Apple TV

Top Rated Comments

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33 months ago
current ABC and NBC shows are available via the ABC and NBC apps. current CBS shows are available via bittorrent.
Rating: 16 Votes
33 months ago
Seems short sighted on the network's part. TV is moving to the internet...like it or not.
Rating: 7 Votes
33 months ago

"I told Steve, 'You know more than me about 99 percent of things but I know more about the television business,' " Moonves said, citing his concerns about providing content to a service that could disrupt CBS' existing revenue streams.


Right there is the problem. He might know the business as it was, but has no idea about where it is going and doesn't know how to make that work and embrace it.

This internet thing is the future, Les. Go with it.
Rating: 7 Votes
33 months ago
Famous last words Mr. Moonves.
Rating: 6 Votes
33 months ago
Pretty sure the same things about "knowing an industry more than you" were said to Steve vis a vis music.
Rating: 6 Votes
33 months ago
I'll further add

Steve Jobs was a smart guy - no denying that. But that doesn't mean he had all the answers. It doesn't mean he always knew better than others in the industry - his own or other industries. The world is made up of many very smart and savvy business people.
Rating: 5 Votes
33 months ago
I don't watch regular television and haven't for years. A lack of interest in currently available content not withstanding, it's been the commercials that's driven me to seek alternative media streams, such as iTunes, Netflix streaming, Amazon streaming, etc.

While this tidbit doesn't really say anything about what this "advertising" on this subscription service would look like, I wouldn't pay for content that's interrupted with ads - defeats the value of paid verse free content IMO.
Rating: 4 Votes
33 months ago
The television execs are exactly the same as the music industry execs. Disrupt the revenue stream?? Say it like it is Les... You are a greedy CEO and don't want to share the money with Apple. Truth is, you are either going to work with Apple's HUGE customer base, or you will fail in creating any additional revenue through internet delivery.

The music industry didn't want to 'share' the profits with Apple and failed at trying to create their own subscription service. Maybe CBS and other networks need to realize that ANY subscription service is revenue that they did not have before.
CBS and other corporate networks need to realize that today's society doesn't sit down in front of the TV with the family like they did in the 80's. We are a society that carries our media devices everywhere we go. We also are starting to realize that being bombarded with commercials every 5 minutes is no longer a necessary evil to watch our favorite shows and we will gladly pay a few dollars to get rid of the commercials. After all, time is our most valuable commodity, and if it takes me 30 minutes to watch a show on TV, but only 23 minutes to watch it from the internet, guess which one I have more time for??
Rating: 4 Votes
33 months ago

TV and FILM industries have to wake up and realise their megabuck days are numbered. Better to go first than try catch up later.


When the megabucks end, so goes the content production. A model that flows 30%+ to Apple and cuts our current cable/satt bills by 80% or more (in some magical cheap subscription offering from Apple) means tons of shows, movies, etc could not be produced anymore. Sure, there's profits in the entertainment business- even fat profits- but it's the lure of those potential fat profits that motivate the show & movie entrepreneurs to risk money on all those failures (all the shows/movies that flop) to deliver a few that turn into big hits.

Kill the "megabucks" and you kill that risk model. And don't think for a minute that that would mean that only the "good" shows will be made. If there was any way to tell the good shows from the bad shows, we would have long since only been getting good shows. A future of low margin/no margin video-oriented entertainment is YouTube content. We already have that future.

In a nutshell, somebody has to pay and it won't be Apple. That means either the Studios take a massive hit to their revenues (which will kill off interest in producing most shows/movies) OR we consumers have to pay up. We already have that latter model too in the iTunes store "as is". But we don't want that either because the pricing is "too high".

What we apparently want is to pay
Rating: 4 Votes
33 months ago
If they get a few major networks involved, hopefully the rest will sign up once they know it's successful.

I see no reason why a customer paying for the TV they watch is a bad idea. Only watch one football game a month? That's fine, you don't need 24/7 Sky Sports 1, 2, and 3 broadcast into your home all month at a cost of around £30.
Rating: 4 Votes

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