CBS Ad-Confident Despite Ratings Decline

Ianniello

At least in the near long-term, CBS appears confident it can continue to grow ad dollars even as ratings decline. CBS CFO Joseph Ianniello said Tuesday the network delivers largely unmatched reach, along with an environment that advertisers covet, and they will pay a premium for both.  

"Advertisers pay for what they're associating their brands with, so they know what they're getting when they buy the CBS schedule," he said at an investor event.

For the season wrapping now, CBS leads ABC and NBC -- the two other networks that must program 22 hours a week in prime time -- in the 18-to-49 demo, although its ratings are down year-over-year.

But Ianniello, from an investor standpoint, was much more bullish on CBS' ability to grow with non-advertising streams, notably collecting carriage fees for its local stations and its affiliate body.

He laid out a current framework: CBS-owned stations are receiving about 50 cents a subscriber per month from cable, satellite and telcoTV operators for about $250 million. It will only grow, as should the payments from affiliates.

Ianniello said the runway ahead is akin to what cable networks had when they launched and affiliate fees were minimal.

CBS also has opportunities with emerging platforms, globally and with its local assets, he noted -- which include TV stations and radio outlets, where it is creating local hub Web sites. Capabilities there include Groupon-like functions.

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