CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves, appearing at the 42nd annual UBS media conference this week, said he would not rule out selling off some of the company’s spectrum.
“In fact, he said it could present a ‘great opportunity’ for CBS,” B&C reports. “Moonves said that he was seeing numbers that indicated spectrum could be worth in the $200 million range per station — the FCC has provided a range of prices, conceding they were high-end estimates. It is conducting outreach efforts to broadcasters, including a chart with some median high-end pricing. New York, for example, is $280 million, though that is a starting price, not what any particular broadcaster might be willing to sell at, which will determine the actual payout.”
Moonves is quoted by Deadline.com saying at the conference: “We’re not saying it’s an absolute ‘no’ when you see [the numbers].”
“It looks attractive to a CW duopoly” and independent stations that CBS owns, the Deadline report quotes Moonves as saying.
B&C adds: “Moonves said that selling spectrum could affect a CBS station’s ability to broadcast quality HD. That would be if CBS sold spectrum but remained on the air sharing a channel and thus cutting in half the amount it would have. But if CBS affiliates would likely be keeping their full spectrum to air all those big ticket sporting events — sports, in particular, is HD bandwidth-hungry — he said that giving up spectrum could be an option for the CW side of a CBS duopoly.”
The broadcast incentive auction is scheduled to be held in 2016, B&C notes.