Showtime has no plans to offer over-the-top service


Don’t look for Showtime to offer an over-the-top alternative anytime soon.

Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills on Wednesday, CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves, said, “We like the eco-system as it is now.” Showtime is a unit of CBS.

Going over-the-top is media industry lingo for offering a cable channel via broadband on an individual basis. As more people gobble up content through digital platforms such as Netflix, there is continuing speculation that down the road pay-cable channels such as HBO and Showtime will move to that model.


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However, while such an offering may appeal to consumers, HBO and Showtime counter that it would be a blow to their bottom line to jettison their cable and satellite distribution partners.

“They’re making a lot of money, we’re making a lot of money, it’s a very good system,” Moonves said. HBO executives have made similar statements.

In addition to Showtime, Moonves also talked about the start of the new TV season. He noted that the network’s new dramas “Vegas” and “Elementary” are already profitable even though neither has premiered yet. That’s because both sold very well overseas.

Sometimes strong international revenue can save a show from being canceled. “Unforgettable,” a drama that CBS pulled the plug on after one season, is coming back as a summer series next year primarily because SonyTV, which co-produces the show, made so much money on overseas sales that it cut what it was charging CBS for the show by 50%, Moonves said.

The CBS chief executive reiterated that the company has no plans to get out of the radio business. CBS is one of the nation’s largest radio operators in the country. While radio generates a lot of cash, the growth of satellite and streaming services such as Pandora have led many to question its long-term value.

Moonves also took a little dig at former CBS News anchor Katie Couric, who now hosts a daytime talk show. He noted that Scott Pelly’s ratings are higher than his predecessor’s, “whose name I will not mention.”

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Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.