Game Changer: CBS Chairman Les Moonves Says About TV: ‘This Year Has Been the Tipping Point We’ve Been Expecting’

Nov 19, 2012  •  Post A Comment

Speaking about the current TV season, Leslie Moonves, the chairman of CBS Corp., which owns CBS, Showtime and 50% of The CW, says, "This year has really sort of been the tipping point that we’ve been expecting," reports our good friend Gary Levin in a cover story in USA Today.

What Moonves is referring to, according to the article, is that "This fall, 38% of young-adult prime-time viewing on the major networks (and 23% of all viewing) consists of previously recorded shows, Nielsen says. That’s up from nearly zero a decade ago."

Moonves also told Levin, "Increasingly, ‘overnight ratings don’t mean anything.’ "

Adds Levin, "It’s not just DVRs, now in 46% of homes, that are upsetting TV’s ecosystem. The dying DVD business has been replaced by a host of new options."

Levin says these options include free streaming of programming, online purchases of programming and mobile viewing of programming.

The article also notes: "Nearly two months into the new TV season, ratings for three of the four big networks are down 10% to 30% from last fall, and off-channel viewership is only one reason. The crop of new series just hasn’t excited viewers, and there’s stronger competition from cable …

"One cause for alarm is that overall TV usage by young adults ages 18 to 24 is down 9% since this time last year, more than any other age bracket. That group is most likely to watch elsewhere, a habit fueled by TV studios’ sales of their content to online destinations."

Levin also quotes Tim Spengler, CEO at New York ad firm Magna Global: "Everything is being disrupted by technology. Television is very effective for advertisers, (but) we just can’t rely on it to do the whole job the way we used to. What advertisers are forced to do is look at a much more diverse mix of media, and ‘the younger the target audience, the more diverse the mix needs to be.’ "

We urge you to click on the link above to read all of Levin’s excellent article and analysis.

One Comment

  1. Great article. The fundamental issue facing the TV business is whether they are prepared to let go of a business model that was designed in the 1950’s, relied upon huge audiences, financed by advertisers looking for mass audiences, was hugely profitable and hence very attractive to their shareholders. Note the past tense. They need to embrace change. The relentless shift in viewing habits and technology is not going to stop and demands that they do. The successful players of the future will embrace change, enjoy it and lead it. Game on.

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