Jacobs Media's Director of Internet Strategies, Tim Davis, shares some insights from CBS' Les Moonves.
In a recent speech at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Mixx Conference, Moonves talked about how CBS - once one of the major holdouts among the larger entertainment distributors - has moved to embrace a digital future:
"Any media company that doesn't acknowledge that the Internet is where you need to be -- that it's the fastest-growing, most innovative new place to get premium content -- is sort of out of the ballgame."
And answering the naysayers who argue that allowing content online can harm a company's primary brands (i.e., television or radio programs) Moonves hammered the point that "it is in no way cannibalistic, and it's additive."
Truly a groundbreaking stance from a guy whose parent company, Viacom, is still in a billion dollar law suit with YouTube. No doubt some of his epiphany is attributable to CBS' recent acquisition of CNET, putting the company in a primary slot in terms of Internet properties. Regardless of the motivation, CBS has now seeded its content to over 300 different web properties through various licensing and revenue sharing deals.
It's a great example of a big media company seeing through the morass of proprietary content issues, handcuffed distribution models, and short-term, "old media" thinking in order to make sure that its content can stay relevant in a digital world. Slow to the game, yes, but kudos to Moonves and CBS for moving the needle and setting a great example.