CBS Airs Shows On Amazon, But Unsure Of Viewing Numbers

by , Jul 29, 2013, 1:08 PM
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Los Angeles -- New TV shows may be in the dark for some time when it comes to how many people are watching on Netflix and Amazon digital services.

Speaking at the Television Critics Association meeting here, Les Moonves, president/CEO of CBS Corp., says for its summer hit “Under the Dome," he doesn’t know where the network stands when it comes to viewership numbers for its Amazon Prime Instant Video deal. Amazon Prime, the subscription video-on-demand service, can air episodes of “Dome” four days after their airing on CBS.

"They have not revealed what their numbers are," says Moonves. "But when I ran into Jeff Bezos at Sun Valley, he literally sought me out to tell me how proud he was about 'Under The Dome'." Since the start of this year, with new series “House of Cards" and new episodes of “Arrested Development," Netflix has not revealed viewer data.

CBS pulled in 13 million viewers for its initial premiere of “Dome” on the networks -- and a little over 20 million viewers when including all time-shifted viewing, DVR through seven days, online, and advertising-supported video on demand.

“With every model we are doing it somewhat different than before,” says Moonves.

This includes the likes of "Dome," as well as for after-market airings of "The Good Wife," where the show will get a combination of streaming Amazon Prime Instant Video, then Hulu Plus, and Hallmark Channel after that. Moonves also says its limited series “Hostages” is part of a new model -- just 15 episodes long.

When it comes to accolades -- something broadcast network executives have grumbled about, since no broadcast network dramas have been recently nominated for an Emmy -- Moonves explained the continued differences between cable shows and broadcast network shows. "[HBO’s] 'Game of Thrones' cost three times as much as 'The Good Wife' and takes three times as long to shoot," says Moonves. And those are major factors in critic/award success, he adds.

While CBS won the highly touted 18-49 viewing crown last year for the first time in decades, Moonves downplayed that victory in remarks to reporters after his stage appearance at the TCA. He says the network continues to make big profits from its shows such as “NCIS” and “Blue Bloods,” from advertisers that buy outside that key viewing group.

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