CBS Chief Moonves: We’re entering a new age in OTT video

CBS CEO Les Moonves told an audience at an investors’ conference today that the “floodgate in now open” when it came to service providers’ interest in over-the-top video.

“While there was a bit of (operator) interest in it, I think the floodgate is now open,” he said in response to a question at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom conference in Miami Beach. “We got a number of calls yesterday from both existing players and digital players we have talked to.”

Part of that spur in interest, he said, was due to HBO’s announcement that it would be working with Apple on a 90-day exclusive deal to market HBO Now, it’s OTT play set to debut in time for this season’s premier of Game of Thrones.

Moonves said he was “surprised” at the limited Apple deal and that it ignored existing partnerships HBO has with operators.

And, he said, Showtime would likely launch online soon.

“You’re going to see similar announcements from us in the coming months,” Moonves said. “OTT is something that’s on everybody’s mind. We’re entering into a new age.

“People are going to be slicing and dicing (OTT video) in different ways,” he added. (But) I don’t think there is any way shape or form anybody should look at it other than a major positive for premium cable.”

As to CBS’s own foray into OTT, in the form of its All Access product, Moonves said Dish’s Sling TV isn’t the only new over-the-top product attracting subscribers. All Access, which costs $5.99 a month, also has attracted at least the 100,000 subscribers Sling TV has.

All Access has been available since last autumn, but it’s only offered part of the content CBS has available… it hasn’t made live streaming available, as has Sling TV, in any markets outside the dozen or so where CBS owns the local station.

But, Moonves said, it’s coming to affiliates in the next couple of months and noted that CBS would give them a split of the subscription revenue so they’d have “incentive to push it.”

Moonves said All Access had attracted a mix of customers from cord cutters to to super fans of CBS shows.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn