CBS Ups Showtime Boss David Nevins to Chief Creative Officer

CBS Corp. Oct. 18 announced the promotion of David Nevins, CEO of Showtime Networks, to corporate chief creative officer, effective immediately. Nevins, who remains CEO of Showtime, was also promoted to chairman of the premium channel.

He will be based in Los Angeles, reporting to Joe Ianniello, acting CBS CEO, in New York.

In his expanded role, Nevins will be responsible for oversight of programming, marketing and research across CBS Television Studios, the CBS Television Network’s Entertainment division, Showtime Networks and, in conjunction with CBS Interactive, programming for over-the-top video platform CBS All Access.

He will also oversee CBS’ interest in The CW, a joint venture between CBS and Warner Bros. Entertainment. Julie McNamara (CBS All Access), David Stapf (CBS Television Studios), Kelly Kahl (CBS Entertainment), George Schweitzer (Marketing) and Radha Subramanyam (research) will continue in their leadership roles in these respective areas.

“David has a brilliant creative mind and an impressive track record of success at Showtime and in the entertainment industry,” Ianniello said in a statement.

As chairman/CEO of Showtime, Nevins manages the company’s programming, distribution, business development, finance, marketing, creative, digital media, scheduling, research, acquisitions, network operations, home entertainment, business affairs and corporate communications teams, as well as Showtime Sports and Smithsonian Networks.

Under his leadership, Showtime original series include critically acclaimed “Homeland,” “Billions,” “Ray Donovan,” “Shameless,” “The Affair,” “SMILF,” “Patrick Melrose,” “Kidding,” “House of Lies,” “The Circus,” “The Chi,” and “Twin Peaks.”

The first Showtime project greenlit by Nevins – “Homeland” was the recipient of Golden Globe and Emmy Awards for “Outstanding Drama Series,” as well as a Peabody Award.

During his tenure, Showtime has also become the industry leader in live boxing broadcasts.

CBS All Access, Showtime OTT Nearing 5.3M Combined Subs

CBS All Access and Showtime OTT, the over-the-top video platforms owned by CBS Corp., are approaching 5.3 million combined subscribers, CEO Less Moonves said on the May 3 fiscal call.

CBS All Access, which launched in 2014 for $5.99 featuring on-demand access to CBS primetime shows and catalog, and Showtime OTT ($10.99), which bowed in 2015, had a collective 5 million subs as of Feb.15. The services are projected to reach 8 million subs by 2020.

CBS plans to launch All Access in Australia by the end of the year, using recently acquired Network Ten to facilitate the rollout. All Access launched in Canada at the end of April.

“These international subs are incremental to our [8 million] target,” said Moonves, adding that more than two-thirds of OTT subs use the commercial-free option.

When asked if that statistic underscores the need to offer a premium-priced sports package without ads, COO Joe Ianniello said the data give CBS leverage when negotiating revenue contracts with distributors and content creators.

“We’re getting [consumers] used to consumption outside the home and on-demand with product that’s timely,” Ianniello said. “For news or sports or now entertainment news, and that’s going to be a subset of All Access.”

CBS markets All Access and Showtime OTT as bundles, with plans to incorporate the services with third-party platforms as well. All Access and Showtime OTT are also marketed Prime members on Amazon Channels.

“Some of the other streaming services that are bigger than us … [have] made a variety of deals,” Moonves said. “We’re also looking at them and we’re not averse to any ideas there.”

Meanwhile, entertainment revenue, which includes OTT sub fees, CBS Television Network, CBS Television Studios, CBS Studios International, CBS Television Distribution, Network Ten, CBS Interactive and CBS Films, topped $2.72 billion, up 16% from $2.35 billion in the previous-year period.

Operating income increased 22% to $492 million from $403 million last year.

Cable Networks revenue reached $609 million, up 12% from $543 million for the same prior-year period, benefiting from growth of ShowtimeOTT and the start of the renewal period for the licensing of Showtimeoriginal series.

Operating income of $230 million decreased 8% from $250 million, reflecting an increased investment in programming, including the launch of two new series, “The Chi”and “Our Cartoon President.



CBS/Viacom Merger Caught Up in Management Roles

Ongoing talks regarding the possible merger of CBS Inc. and former corporate parent Viacom isn’t revolving around price or who would head both companies. That would be CBS CEO Les Moonves. Instead, the multibillion dollar deal is reportedly hung up by who would be Moonves’ second-in-command, among other management decisions.

CNBC reported that Moonves is eyeing CBS COO Joe Ianniello, while Shari Redstone, who controls majority shares of Viacom, wants Viacom CEO Bob Bakish assuming the role.

Moonves contends that if the Viacom board of directors wants him to lead the combined companies, he has the right to name his management team. Shari Redstone believes otherwise.

“[The acquisition price] is not actually going to be the key issue whether or not these talks succeed in reaching a deal,” said David Faber, host of CNBC’s “The Faber Report”.

Ianniello, who was recently promoted to the COO position from CFO, has been with CBS since the media company separated from Viacom in 2005. He typically backs up Moonves on fiscal calls.

Bakish, who replaced Philippe Dauman in 2016 as CEO of Viacom, formerly headed Viacom International Media Networks. He has been with the company since 1997.

“So, we are setting up, it would seem, for a potential debate and/or clash between Shari Redstone and Les Moonves about what the reporting structure in the new company will be,” Faber said.

Indeed, as controlling shareholder at Viacom (including Paramount Pictures), Redstone has the right to replace the board or even Moonves, according to Faber.

In addition, both Bakish and Ianniello have clauses in their employment contracts that call for significant financial compensation in the event of a change in ownership of either company. For Ianniello, that reportedly would be $70 million should he not get the No. 2 position in a combined CBS/Viacom.

Analysts contend cost synergies in the merger would range from $500 million to $750 million.