A deal to bring CBS shows to the Apple TV has been the focus of a number of rumors in recent times, but neither company had officially confirmed whether or not a deal had been met. Until this week, when CBS CEO Les Moonves confirmed the company had turned down an Apple TV deal.
Moonves revealed the decision in a recent quarterly earnings call when he was probed about the company’s appetite for making deals with new streaming providers which may not have the money to license CBS content with cash up front. He said the company decided against an Apple TV deal because it was based on an advertising split.
The decision is very typical of CBS, which famously shies away from certain deals that do not offer money up front for licensing, and instead employ a revenue sharing system. This is the reason why the company’s content does not feature on services like Hulu, alongside shows from the likes of ABC, Fox and NBC.
It’s a decision that doesn’t seem to be damaging the company’s success, at least right now. In fact, it has recently struck big money deals with services like Netflix and Amazon which paid “hundreds of millions of dollars” up front to license classic shows like Cheers and The Wonder Years.
Apple has reportedly been working on a subscription-based streaming service for its set-top box that would allows customers to watch content from a number of major TV networks. Moonves’s comments, however, are the first real indication we have of Apple’s plans and it’s not the first time he’s mentioned something during an earnings call he shouldn’t have, according to GigaOM:
Moonves’s Apple comment isn’t the first big gaffe he’s had over the past year. On CBS’s first-quarter earnings call, Moonves mentioned working on a deal with Netflix to license CBS shows for distribution in Latin America, a full month before Netflix officially announced its streaming service would be expanding to that region.
Apple’s subscription service looks like it may never arrive on the Apple TV, with the report suggesting the Cupertino company is unable to work out deals with enough providers. That suggests CBS isn’t the only network to have said no to Apple.