(Adds Moonves' comments on Web video and outdoor advertising)
By Robert MacMillan
NEW YORK, Sept 18 CBS Corp (CBS.N) is happy
with its deal with iTunes and won't join a battle against Apple
Inc (AAPL.O) over the pricing of television shows on the online
store, CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves said on Tuesday.
NBC Universal decided last month not to renew a deal to
sell downloads of its television shows on Apple's iTunes
because NBC wanted more flexibility in offering different
packages and pricing.
News Corp NWSa.N Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin
last week echoed NBC Universal's call for more flexible
"We're sort of staying out of the battle," Moonves told a
Merrill Lynch investor conference. "We like our relationship
Moonves said iTunes is not a significant source of revenue.
"We look at iTunes as much as a promotional vehicle for our
shows as a financial vehicle," he said.
NBC Universal, which is controlled by General Electric Co
(GE.N), is the top supplier of digital video to the iTunes
NBC and News Corp plan to debut an advertising online-video
joint venture called Hulu in October. Moonves said that CBS was
invited to be a third partner, but declined.
"I don't like joint ventures per se," he said. "I love
Peter Chernin and [NBC Universal Chief Executive] Jeff Zucker.
They're both very smart, but I don't like to consult with them
on what to do with my programming."
Moonves said CBS is looking at Internet sites "every single
day of the week ... We look at thousands of them to see where
we should invest, what we should buy."
As for large acquisitions, Moonves said the company would
consider a buy if the price is right. "We're very cautious,
very conservative about what we do," he said. "But as I said,
we have a lot of dry powder."
CBS has no plans to spin off its outdoor advertising unit,
Moonves said in response to a question at the conference.
"We like the outdoor business a great deal," he said. "I
don't foresee us in the near term or the long term spinning it
Moonves added that the company plans to continue its
dividend, and said it is possible that it will continue to rise
and that CBS would hold more share buybacks.
CBS shares rose 60 cents, or 1.95 percent, to $31.39 on the
New York Stock Exchange.