One of the interesting insights to emerge from the monthlong standoff between CBS Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc. this summer was that the dispute wasn’t over money.
In fact, the two sides were squabbling over digital rights — the ability for Time Warner Cable subscribers to watch CBS content on the go on mobile devices if they prove, or “authenticate,” that they are subscribers.
Such rights are known as “TV Everywhere” rights.
CEO Les Moonves clarified the company’s view of the matter on a conference call with industry analysts following the release of the company’s third quarter earnings.
QUESTION: One of the most interest things about the deal with Time Warner was that you didn’t have to give up digital authentication TV Everywhere rights even though you got a hefty price, reportedly. So why is it that you — why didn’t you kind of have a TV Everywhere authenticated product, and what are your plans to do with those exclusive authenticated rights?
RESPONSE: (Moonves) We’re open to TV authentication. We want to preserve the flexibility to pursue that. We want to be paid for that. The right of our content travelling with the consumer, we think we should be getting paid for that. It’s not — everything can’t be included in the one rate that we negotiate with the (multichannel video programming distributors). Those are rates for inside the home, and that’s what we kind of bargain for. We’re open to having all sorts of conversations and maintain flexibility doing that. It’s our content. We spend a lot of money for the intellectual property, and we want to fully monetize that.