The CBS chief describes Dish Network and Disney’s new programming agreement as “a win-win for both companies.” But it’s still “not quite enough for us,” Les Moonves told the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference today. He likes the fact that Dish chairman Charlie Ergen curtailed the ability of his Hopper DVR to automatically zap ads on ABC shows; the new deal will delay that until three days after a show airs. (CBS and other broadcasters sued Dish saying that the Hopper infringed on their copyrights and violated programming contracts. Dish says the Hopper simply automates the ad skipping that DVR viewers already do with their remote controls.) Moonves also doesn’t mind the terms in the deal with Disney that would enable Dish to carry its channels on an Internet pay TV service, also known as over-the-top. “Everybody’s talking about over the top,” he says. “We’re talking about it with many of the [pay TV distributors] we’re in business with….The current ecosystem works very well, but a new way to get paid for your linear content is a good thing if it’s done appropriately.” He adds that consumers will probably see a online pay TV service “in concert with our partners.” That could include Dish: Moonves says that “our deal with Charlie is up at the end of this year. It’ll be an interesting conversation, as they always are with Charlie.”
On other matters, Moonves says that while he’d consider offering Showtime to people who don’t subscribe to pay TV “I’m not trying to rock the boat, yet. Right now it aint broke.” He also cheered yesterday’s brief from the U.S. Solicitor General supporting CBS and other broadcasters’ claim at the Supreme Court that streaming service Aereo infringes on their copyrights. “It’s a fairly significant thing that a non-partisan Department of Justice agency said it’s a clear copyright infringement. It’s a good step in the right direction.” The high court will hear the case April 22.
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