CBS eyes international programme sales of $1.25bn

CBS will generate revenues of over US$1.25 billion from content sales in international markets this year, according to company CEO Les Moonves (pictured).

Les_MoonvesSpeaking to analysts in the wake of the company’s third quarter results, the CBS boss said the its international syndication business, managed by Armando Nunez’s CBS Studios International division, has expanded significantly and that the growth of SVOD services and strength of emerging markets provides more headroom for growth.

“The good news is this year, the international syndication market for us is going to bring in over US$1.25 billion, which has grown over the last five or six years from somewhere around US$400 million,” Moonves said. “The great news for us is Eastern Europe is opening up. Asia is opening up. Latin America is becoming a lot more significant. In addition, the streaming deals are happening all over the world. You see the expansion of Netflix internationally in every market they open up; we are participating in that.”

The CBS chief added that it has even been able to drive license fees up in territories facing wider economic challenges. He said: “What is very pleasing to us is even as the economy in Europe has gone down, the pricing for our programming has gone up.”

Looking ahead, Moonves was bullish about the prospects of another installment in the NCIS franchise (pictured, below), this time set in New Orleans. The procedural is a key performer for CBS domestically and one of the top performing US shows internationally making a new version a significant programming event. Moonves said he hoped CBS Studios-produced NCIS: New Orleans will be on CBS’s fall 2014 schedule.

The quarterly results also provided colour on the progress of CBS international channel businesses. It has a joint venture channels operation with Chellomedia in Europe, Reliance in India, Network Ten in Australia and another with RTL in Asia. The results reveal that quarterly revenue from the JVs was US$49 million and US$182 million for the nine months to end-September.

Speaking about the RTL deal in Asia, Moonves said the channels operation, which has just launched and secured carriage deals in Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines, will hit 29 territories. “Internationally, we’re once again using our content as a form of investment and to new markets,” he said. “Going forward, we will continue to take advantage of opportunities to expand our footprint through ventures like this.”


CBS said that for the third quarter around 10% of revenues came from international operations. The proportion rose to 13% for the nine months to end-September.

Finance boss Joseph R. Ianniello told analysts: “International is absolutely probably the fastest-growing if I was looking at it in terms of a growth rate and there are hundreds of markets that still don’t have any of our content.”

Company-wide revenues were US$3.6 billion for the third quarter, an 11% increase year-on-year. Operating profit was US$941 million, a 5% increase on the same period a year ago.

The financial news came as CBS announced its CBS Drama and CBS Action channels launched on Multichoice’s pan-African pay TV platform DStv. The deal also sees Chello Zone’s preschool channel JimJam and movie service MGM launch on DSTV. The pay TV platform will handle ad sales for the new channels.