The Hollywood Reporter got a chance Saturday to interview CBS CEO Leslie Moonves at the UCLA Entertainment Symposium. In the interview, Moonves revealed a conversation he had with the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, stating that Jobs approached him about a year ago to pitch an idea for CBS to provide content to their Apple TV. Jobs was seeking a partnership as a subscription service, but Moonves declined over the concern that it could disrupt the traditional CBS revenue stream.
Moonves said that he told Steve Jobs he clearly lacked understanding of the TV industry and how the business works, stating “You know more than me about 99 percent of things but I know more about the television business.” Instead, Moonves signed deals with other digital content providers such as “Hulu” and “Netflix,” which he called friends of CBS. With the agreements with those networks, Moonves helped to turn around the CW (in which CBS had big investments) from a “losing proposition” to become the most profitable one.
It’s rumored that Apple had been seeking an agreement with TV content providers, and this interview assures the company continues to pursue partnerships with content providers. A recent report by The New York Post shows that Apple has been “pushing ahead” with their plans to get their streaming TV service off the ground before the end of the year. The Post reports that the Apple Senior VP Eddy Cue, was lead “negotiator” to convince content providers to come on board with a streaming TV service. Even as Apple has met with strong opposition from cable executives about a deal to offer their content through services such as the Apple TV, the company is reportedly interested in streaming over the web.