CBS in talks to bring TV shows to Hulu: CEO

NEW YORK Mon Aug 2, 2010 4:16pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - CBS Corp, the No.1 U.S. broadcaster, is in talks to bring some of its TV shows to popular Web video service Hulu, CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves said in an interview on Monday.

Moonves said talks were with Hulu Plus, a paid for subscription service which the online video company launched in June charging users $9.

CBS, home to top shows such as 'CSI' and 'Two and a Half Men,' is the only major broadcaster whose shows are not available on Hulu. Hulu is one of the fastest growing TV sites since its launch in 2007 with around 43.5 million viewers in May, according to data from analytics firm comScore.

Moonves said CBS shied away from Hulu in the early stages to ensure flexibility, but the introduction of a subscription business has encouraged CBS to explore its options with Hulu.

"Are we having discussions with the Hulu subscription service? Yes we are," Moonves said.

"Our goal is to get paid for our content in as many different ways as we can without hurting the mother ship. The key here is flexibility."

CBS said on Monday it signed a 10-year programing deal with Comcast Corp, which includes range of on-demand and Web video features.

Executives at CBS have long argued that a key issue with Hulu was one of control and exclusivity. CBS has also wanted to have more control over how its shows are distributed and shunned the idea of featuring its programs exclusively on Hulu, preferring a wide range of partners across the Web.

Hulu is jointly owned by the other networks General Electric Co's NBC, Walt Disney Co's ABC and News Corp's Fox Networks. The vast majority of the programing on the site has been available for free, usually a short time after first being broadcast for free on air.

But as Hulu aims to expand its TV offering, it has developed a paid-for service to encourage other partners such as cable networks owners such as Viacom Inc and Time Warner Inc. Cable networks typically rely on a dual business model of affiliate fees from TV distributors and advertising revenue.

Hulu Plus is hoping to lure consumers to pay a monthly fee for the convenience of watching shows whenever they want. It said in June it is making its service available on Apple Inc's iPad and iPhone, Sony Corp's PlayStation 3 and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd television sets.

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba; writing by Yinka Adegoke; editing by Andre Grenon)

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