Network competitors might soon be partners, especially considering where Netflix and other digital TV/video services have gone.
And Netflix? It believes it is in an "arms race" -- in which I'm guessing the more entertainment weapons you have, the better. HBO Go is in its sights as the most prominent entertainment enemy.
Moonves said CBS is in talks with Netflix about creating an original series. Other original series from Netflix, now described as a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service, include "Lilyhammer" (already available), "Arrested Development (still to come) and "House of Cards" (still to come).
Netflix says it has two more original series are in the works. With a CBS series coming as well, by our account that would mean around seven hours worth of TV series -- just 15 hours short of the mark that, according to Moonves, would deem them as a competitor of sorts.
To be fair, broadcast networks and their media holding companies have dealt with each other -- their supposed competitors -- for years. A notable recent effort was NBCUniversal selling the long-time hit drama “House,” which will end this year, to Fox.
NBC would say it got millions of dollars in license fees over the past eight years. Fox would say "House," which even now still has a strong 3.5 rating among 18-49 viewers, has provided millions of dollars in national advertising.
While a new CBS-produced Netflix program is interesting, a bigger deal is CBS and Warner Bros. making big program license deals with Netflix for their programs from co-owned CW. Some 90% of Netflix’s business is still in TV/film distribution.
Looking forward, maybe all networks need to open up their business to new deals with supposed competitors. The formation of digital video platform Hulu by network owners Walt Disney, News Corp., and NBCUniversal was just the start.
Longtime TV analyst Steve Sternberg has noted that, with still eroding ratings for the broadcast networks, it’s time for them to allow some form of cross-network marketing of their shows, similar to what cable networks do with their programming.
This should be only the first step. Growing competition will make for even stranger bedfellows.