CBS‘ Chief Research Officer David Poltrack wouldn’t directly answer this morning’s big question: whether his company might turn its broadcast network into a pay TV channel if the courts rule that Aereo can stream over-the-air programming without payment — something that Fox and Univision said yesterday that they’re weighing. But the CBS exec left no doubt that it considers the attacks to its business model from Aereo and Dish Network’s Hopper DVR — which can automatically skip over ads in recorded shows — to be front-burner issues. Content “is our most important asset, and we’re going to protect it every way possible,” Poltrack said at a pre-upfront market panel about changes in TV advertising. He added that “Aereo is an example” of a view among lawmakers and others that broadcasting can withstand the new challenges. “They’re so confused and misinformed about the nature of the business, and that is a danger.” Still, he had some fun with the issue, telling Fox Cable Networks’ ad sales EVP Bruce Lefkowitz that he wanted to congratulate him “on the addition of Fox Broadcasting to his cable portfolio.” Poltrack also says that broadcast TV is entering a golden era as viewers use smartphones and tablets to interact with content providers. “We’re at an inflection point that will dramatically change and enhance” TV, he says.
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