CBS: We Killed Apple TV Deal Because The Split Sucked



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.

  • CharliK

    And Killian continues with his classless hyperbole hit whoring headlines. 

    Lets disregard the detail that CBS has killed all online access based on ad sharing not just the Apple TV because they think the split idea in general sucks so that we can make it sound like those douchebags at Apple were trying to pull a fast one on poor CBS. 

  • Jordan Clay

    I think more people on this blog care about the Apple TV vs Netflix and Hulu….ergo the headline

  • jenn

    Oh I so hope they work it out, I am dying to get rid of my cable!!!

  • Howie Isaacks

    It’s just this kind of BS that makes people pirate content.  I already pay for Netflix, and I wouldn’t mind paying for a couple of additional services if the price was reasonable.  CBS is stuck in the 90’s when the rest of the world has moved into the 21st century.

  • Eric

    I guess I won’t be watching much CBS if any.

  • nolavabo

    What kind of split does CBS get from filelocker and torrent downloads? Did the studios, both TV and film, learn nothing from the music industry’s failure to embrace trending distribution channels?

  • Fearless_fred

    *Yawn* and this is why an Apple TV set would not be a great idea. If Apple can’t make a deal with *one* broadcaster in *one* country, how can they hope to have a product that makes a large impact world-wide.

  • Bob Forsberg

    When the old guys finally die off at CBS, maybe some new blood that understands todays distribution system will work with the new media distributers. 

    iTunes saved the music industry from piracy. The ancient shekel counters at CBS can’t see tomorrows profits past the nickel that might fall off the table.