CBS’ Les Moonves Full Transcript, Video from CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street”

moonvesWill broadcast network take the golden reign back from cable? Yes, according to CBS chieftain Les Moonves.

In ever-changing world of media, it seems broadcast television is faring better than basic cable now, at least in terms of ratings and advertising revenue, CBS CEO Les Moonves told CNBC on Thursday.

“Advertising does depend on ratings and you know at broadcast television the ratings are definitely up. Our ratings are up across every single demographic starting the year,” Moonves said on “Squawk on the Street.”

“So this summer was a little bit slow. However, scatter picked up in the third quarter and it’s picking up even further into the fourth quarter. So I think network television is, you know, broadcast may be doing better than basic cable at the moment.”

Thursday, November 6th on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street”

DAVID FABER: CBS SHARES ARE TRADING HIGHER IN THE PREMARKET AS ITS THIRD QUARTER RESULTS WERE AHEAD OF WALL STREET ESTIMATES. THE COMPANY ALSO MAKING A NUMBER OF STREAMING VIDEO ANNOUNCEMENTS INCLUDING TODAY’S LAUNCH OF A LIVE DIGITAL NEWS CHANNEL, CBSN. JOINING US NOW IS PRESIDENT AND CEO OF CBS LESLIE MOONVES. ALWAYS GOOD TO HAVE YOU, LESLIE. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

LESLIE MOONVES: THANK YOU, DAVID. GOOD TO BE WITH YOU.

FABER: I’D LOVE TO START OFF ON ADVERTISING IF I CAN. IT’S BEEN AN INTERESTING WEEK HEARING FROM DISCOVERY AND SOME NEGATIVE COMMENTS FROM ITS CEO DAVID ZASLAV. AND THEN REPORTS LIKE YOURS AND TIME WARNER’S AND FOX’S. IS IT FAIR TO SAY THAT THERE MAY BE A BIFURCATION IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW WHEN IT COMES TO SOME SEEING WEAKNESS IN ADVERTISING AND OTHERS NOT. AND THAT MAYBE IT DEPENDS ON PROGRAMMING?

MOONVES: WELL, YOU KNOW WHAT, ADVERTISING DOES DEPEND ON RATINGS. AND AT BROADCAST TELEVISION, THE RATINGS ARE DEFINITELY UP. OUR RATINGS ARE UP ACROSS THE BOARD IN EVERY SINGLE DEMOGRAPHIC STARTING THE YEAR. SO, THIS SUMMER WAS A LITTLE BIT SLOW. HOWEVER, SCATTERERS PICKED UP IN THE THIRD QUARTER AND IT’S PICKING UP EVEN FURTHER INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER. SO I THINK NETWORK TELEVISION IS, YOU KNOW, BROADCAST MAY BE DOING BETTER THAN BASIC CABLE AT THE MOMENT.

FABER: WELL THAT’S INTERESTING TO NOTE. OF COURSE, THERE IS ALWAYS THIS CONVERSATION ABOUT DIGITAL AND HOW MUCH MORE IT CONCEIVABLY IS TAKING OF WHAT MAY BE A RELATIVELY STATIC PIE.

MOONVES: RIGHT.

FABER: ARE YOU SEEING THAT?

MOONVES: YOU KNOW WHAT, I THINK OBVIOUSLY DIGITAL IS GROWING, IT’S NOT A MYTH, BUT PRIMARILY THEY ARE TAKING IT FROM PRINT, AS WELL AS WE THINK FROM NICHE CABLE NETWORKS AS OPPOSED TO THE BROADCASTERS. YOU KNOW, WE HAVE THREE OR FOUR SHOWS THAT ARE WATCHED BY 20 MILLION PEOPLE A WEEK. IT’S A LOT OF HITS ON YOUTUBE TO EQUAL 20 MILLION VIEWERS ON CBS.

FABER: IT CERTAINLY IS. OF COURSE, ANOTHER PART OF YOUR BUSINESS THAT IS NOT ADVERTISING IS RETRANS.

MOONVES: RIGHT.

FABER: AND YOU HAVE TALKED MANY TIMES ABOUT BEING ON TRACK TO EXIT 2016 WITH OVER $1 BILLION IN RETRANS AND WHAT WE CALL REVERSE COMPENSATION AS WELL. YOU DO HAVE A BIG DEAL COMING UP WITH DISH ON RETRANS.

MOONVES: YES, WE DO. YES.

FABER: YOU AND I WERE AT A DINNER LAST NIGHT TOGETHER. I AM NOT SURE WE WERE ABLE TO WAVE TO EACH OTHER. BUT ERGEN WAS ALSO THERE. DID YOU GET A CHANCE TO TALK TO HIM AT ALL ABOUT WHETHER YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO MAKE PEACE?

MOONVES: YES, ACTUALLY, RIGHT. WELL, CHARLIE AND I ACTUALLY MET YESTERDAY AFTERNOON AND YOU KNOW, WE ARE ATTEMPTING TO MAKE A DEAL. OUR DEAL WITH THEM IS UP ON NOVEMBER 20th. I THINK WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS. WE’LL SEE. THEY ARE CURRENTLY, OBVIOUSLY, DARK WITH SOME OF THE TIME WARNER CABLE CHANNELS. AND YOU KNOW, WE HAVE SAID TO THEM, LOOK, WE DON’T WANT TO BE DARK, BUT WE WANT TO BE PAID APPROPRIATELY FOR OUR CONTENT. AND WE’VE PROVEN WE ARE NOT AFRAID TO FIGHT, BUT WE WOULD RATHER NOT. I WOULD RATHER BE A LOVER THAN A FIGHTER.

FABER: WELL, I KNOW THAT, ALTHOUGH YOU HAVE FOUGHT. MOST RECENTLY IN THE CASE OF TIME WARNER CABLE, A FIGHT THAT YOU WON. ERGEN IS A FIGHTER TOO, THOUGH, LESLIE. I MEAN, GIVE ME A SENSE HERE. HE DOESN’T SEEM TO CARE THAT MUCH THAT CNN IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE IN A LOT OF HIS HOUSEHOLDS.

MOONVES: YEAH, BUT, YOU KNOW WHAT, WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, CBS IS NOT CNN. I WOULDN’T WANT TO BE IN DENVER WHERE CHARLIE LIVES AND NOT HAVE THE BRONCOS GAMES ON THREE DAYS AFTER NOVEMBER 20th. SO I THINK WE HAVE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF LEVERAGE THAT MAY BE CNN AND CARTOON NETWORK DON’T HAVE.

FABER: SO HOW MUCH OF THIS JUST COMES BACK TO THE NFL TIME AND AGAIN?

MOONVES: WELL, THE NFL CLEARLY IS VERY IMPORTANT. IT’S IMPORTANT TO A LOT OF NETWORKS. AND OBVIOUSLY WITH US HAVING HAD THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL THIS YEAR PLUS OUR TERRIFIC PACKAGE ON SUNDAY, IT’S STILL A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF OUR PROGRAMMING.

JIM CRAMER: ALRIGHT, LES THIS IS JIM. I WILL GO RIGHT BACK TO DAVID, BUT YOU POINT OUT FOUR BLOWOUT GAMES.

MOONVES: I KNOW. IT WAS TERRIBLE.

CRAMER: IF THERE WAS A COMPETITIVE GAME, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE?

MOONVES: IT WAS TERRIBLE. ON THURSDAY NIGHT, IT’S LIKE WE HAD THE FOUR WORST GAMES IN THE HISTORY OF THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL. AND IT’S LIKE, GIVE ME A BREAK. WE CAN PRODUCE IT WELL, WE CAN PROMOTE IT WELL, I CAN’T GET ON THE FIELD AND MAKE THE GAME CLOSE.

CARL QUINTANILLA: LES, TALK TO US ABOUT CBSN AND WHAT THIS MEANS. HOW MUCH YOU THINK YOU WILL BE ABLE TO CHARGE. HOW IS THE CONTENT GOING TO BE DIFFERENT FROM WHAT WE SEE ON LINEAR TELEVISION?

MOONVES: WELL, YOU KNOW WHAT, AS OF NINE O’CLOCK TODAY, SO IT JUST STARTED. CBSN IS ONLINE RIGHT NOW. YOU KNOW, CBS NEWS IS A PHENOMENAL ORGANIZATION THAT HAS BUREAUS ACROSS THE WORLD, AND PRODUCING A TON OF CONTENT OF WHICH WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH AIR TIME TO PUT IT ON. SO, SINCE WE DO NOT HAVE A CABLE NEWS NETWORK, AND SINCE THE WORLD IS GOING ONLINE, WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO PUT ON A 24 HOUR NEWS CHANNEL WITH ANCHORS LIVE, WITH PLENTY OF CONTENT AT NOT A GREAT COST. SO IT’S A GREAT WAVE FOR THE FUTURE. AS WE KNOW EARLIER THIS MONTH, WE ANNOUNCED CBS ALL ACCESS WHICH IS OUR OVER THE TYPE SERVICE FOR OUR CBS PROGRAMMING. AND NOW TO HAVE THIS WITH NEWS AS WELL, I’M VERY EXCITED ABOUT OUR FUTURE.

FABER: I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT CBS ALL ACCESS, LESLIE. WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS THERE? IT’S SIX BUCKS A MONTH.

MOONVES: RIGHT.

FABER: AND AS YOU SAY, ALL ACCESS. MOST OF IT IS GOING TO BE AVAILABLE VIDEO ON DEMAND. I KNOW SOME MARKETS YOU ACTUALLY CAN GET THE LINEAR LIVE FEED, AS WELL. I MEAN, AREN’T YOU IN DANGER OF TICKING OFF YOUR CABLE PARTNERS WITH THIS SERVICE?

MOONVES: NO. THE IDEA OF CBS ALL ACCESS IS TO BE ADDITIVE TO THEM. WE ARE NOT TRYING TO GO AROUND OUR CABLE OR SATELLITE PARTNERS AT ALL. THERE ARE 10 MILLION HOMES THAT HAVE BROADBAND ONLY. THEY DON’T HAVE CABLE, THEY DON’T HAVE SATELLITE. BUT THEY DO WANT CBS CONTENT. YOU GO ON COLLEGE CAMPUS TODAY, AND THERE AREN’T VERY MANY TELEVISION SETS BUT THERE ARE AN AWFUL LOT OF COMPUTERS AND AN AWFUL LOT OF iPADS THAT WILL NOW BE ABLE TO GET LIVE LINEAR FEED OF CBS PLUS OUR VIDEO ON DEMAND CONTENT WHICH IS THE BEST CONTENT THAT THERE IS OUT THERE. SO, THIS IS ADDITIVE TO WHO WE ALREADY ARE. AND WE EXPECT IT TO GROW A LOT OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS.

FABER: I MEAN, IS IT GOING TO – I WOULD ASSUME IT ALSO IS IN SOME WAYS AN EXPERIMENT. I MEAN, YOU GET TO SEE WHAT THIS WORLD LOOKS LIKE AS IT EVOLVES, DON’T YOU?

MOONVES: THERE IS NO QUESTION. YOU KNOW, WE HAVE GONE INTO OTT BOTH WITH ENTERTAINMENT AND WITH NEWS. AND YOU KNOW, DAVID, EVERYTHING IS CHANGING SO RAPIDLY. I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT FOR US TO BE OUT THERE, ONLINE, WITH BROADBAND. AND A YEAR FROM NOW I’M GOING TO HAVE A VERY DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW OF THE WORLD JUST LIKE I DID A YEAR AGO.

FABER: WHAT’S IT GOING TO BE? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA AT THIS POINT?

MOONVES: WELL, IF I DID, I WOULD BE A GENIUS. BUT YOU KNOW, THERE’S A LOT TO COME. AND THE WORLD IS CHANGING EXTREMELY RAPIDLY. THE GOOD NEWS IS, CBS IS ALL PLACES IT NEEDS TO BE AND OUR GREAT CONTENT IS AVAILABLE ALL SORTS OF DIFFERENT PLACES.

FABER: MOVING ON TO THE BALANCE SHEET A BIT. YOU BOUGHT $5.5 BILLION WORTH OF STOCK BACK OVER THE LAST NINE MONTHS. YOU HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO IT AT A LOWER PRICE THAN LAST YEAR. HAVE YOU BEEN DISAPPOINTED AT ALL AT THE PERFORMANCE OF THE STOCK PRICE THIS YEAR AFTER OF COURSE, WHAT WAS A GREAT PERFORMANCE IN 2013?

MOONVES: NO. WE HAD A PHENOMENAL RUN. AND OBVIOUSLY, CERTAIN PEOPLE TOOK SOME PROFITS OFF. AND OVER THE SUMMER, THERE OBVIOUSLY WAS SOME FEAR ABOUT THE ADVERTISING MARKET. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT, WE ARE NOT AT ALL WORRIED WITH THE EARNINGS WE JUST ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY. AND ALL THE THINGS THAT ARE HAPPENING. ONCE AGAIN, WE HAVE REFILLED OUR CONTENT PIPELINE. WE ARE VERY, VERY CONFIDENT IN OUR STOCK AND OUR FUTURE. AND YOU KNOW, IT CAN’T GO UP EVERY SINGLE YEAR. ALTHOUGH, OUR EPS HAS BEEN UP 19 QUARTERS IN A ROW. THAT’S 19 QUARTERS. SO, WE ARE VERY CONFIDENT THAT IT’S A GOOD BUY AND I THINK IT IS A GREAT VALUE RIGHT NOW.

FABER: RIGHT. NOW, OF COURSE, AN IMPORTANT COMPONENT OF THAT HAS BEEN YOUR CONTINUED REPURCHASE OF STOCK. AND I EXPECT YOU CONTINUE TO HAVE THAT BE A PART OF THE STRATEGY AT THE COMPANY.

MOONVES: ABSOLUTELY. WE HAVE PLENTY OF DRY POWDER. WE ANNOUNCED THAT WE ARE GOING TO BUY $5.5 BILLION MORE WORTH OF STOCK OVER THE SHORT TERM. AND YOU KNOW, REST ASSURED THERE IS GOING TO BE A LOT OF VALUE TO SHAREHOLDERS RETURN. WE ANTICIPATE A VERY GOOD FUTURE.

FABER: NOW, SOMETHING YOU HAVEN’T DONE A LOT OF AT LEAST IS LARGE ACQUISITIONS, CERTAINLY. YOU WERE ASKED ON THE CONFERNECE CALL ABOUT STARZ. YOU SAID IT’S AN INTERESTING ASSET BUT WE FEEL CONTENT WITH WHAT WE HAVE RIGHT NOW. SO, YOU’RE NOT BUYING STARZ?

MOONVES: WELL, RIGHT NOW, SHOWTIME IS DOING EXTRAORDINARILY WELL. YOU KNOW, THE CONTENT, THEY ARE ACHIEVING GREAT ALL SORTS OF GREAT THINGS CREATIVELY AND FINANCIALLY. AND IN THE PREMIUM CABLE SPACE, SHOWTIME IS CERTAINLY ONE OF THE GOLD STANDARDS ALONG WITH HBO. STARZ IS SOMETHING, OBVIOUSLY THAT IS A VALUABLE ASSET. BUT WE ARE PRETTY CONTENT WITH WHAT WE HAVE.

FABER: AND FINALLY, LESLIE, THIS NEW WORLD THAT WE ARE A PART OF NOW WHERE YOU CAN TURN AROUND AND SELL YOUR CONTENT TO NETFLIX OR THE NEXT ONE, OR FRANKLY, I GUESS, A NEW DEAL WITH SONY.

MOONVES: RIGHT.

FABER: IS THIS SOMETHING THAT IS GOING TO END? IN OTHER WORDS, IS THIS A GREAT FRUITFUL PERIOD OF TIME THAT IS GOING TO COME TO AN END IN TERMS OF YOUR ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO FIND HOME FOR CONTENT THAT YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE THOUGHT AND GETTING PAID WELL FOR IT?

MOONVES: DAVID, NO WAY. WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT’S HAPPENED OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS, SUDDENLY OUT OF NOWHERE CAME A NETFLIX, AN AMAZON, HULU PLUS, NOW SONY. THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS AND YOU KNOW, AS THE WORLD EVOLVES, THERE ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE BUYERS FOR OUR CONTENT. AS LONG AS WE CONTINUE TO DO WHAT WE ARE DOING, THERE’S GOING TO BE NEW ENTRANTS, BOTH DOMESTICALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY. AND THE SKY’S THE LIMIT FOR THOSE WHO HAVE THE CONTENT.

FABER: ALRIGHT. AS ALWAYS, APPRECIATE YOUR TAKING TIME THIS MORNING, LESLIE. THANK YOU.

MOONVES: THANK YOU, DAVID.

FABER: LES MOONVES, CEO OF CBS.

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