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On the Call: CBS execs call Netflix deal 'strong'

The Associated Press

Executives with broadcaster CBS Corp. said their relationship with Netflix Inc. is strong. The statements come amid concerns that the online streaming video company is cutting back on how much it's willing to pay for TV show reruns as it favors its own original programming such as "House of Cards."

Those concerns were sparked two weeks ago, when Netflix said it will end its broad deal to license content from Viacom Inc. networks Nickelodeon, BET and MTV at the end of May, and that it would seek individual show deals instead.

There were concerns that Netflix's focus on originals and exclusive programs would hurt media companies.

Chief Financial Officer Joe Ianniello said that even without Netflix, revenue from streaming services will be up in 2013 from 2012.

Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves said the CBS TV studio could also produce original content for Netflix, and reiterated that with its current deal, CBS can mandate that Netflix license certain shows that get dropped from CBS's on-air lineup through a so-called "put."

QUESTION: If you could please provide a little more detail on your agreement with Netflix in terms of where does it stand now. They're shifting their strategy more to exclusive shows and just wondering what is the nature of your deal? Has the nature of the content that you have on Netflix changed?

RESPONSE: (Ianniello) On Netflix, our Netflix relationship is very, very strong. We are in constant dialogue with them all the time. So our agreement today currently provides we have some flexibility going out through this year and next year. So again, I think it's a relationship we continue to build. They're quite happy with the content we are providing them and as they evolve, we're going to continue to be by their side.

(Moonves) And just to amplify on that, yes, we have a big overall deal with them and now the results come in, they see some of our content working better than others and there is some shift. In other words, we're giving them stuff and replacing stuff and there are certain things that will come off of our schedule that we have the ability to make a put towards. But once again, as long as there is a consistent dialogue about this deal and ongoing deals, the relationship remains strong and we anticipate that it'll remain strong for many years to come.