By: Marlowe Reardon, Justin Rivera, and Francesca Sostar
Columbia Broadcasting System, known as CBS Corporation, was founded in 1927 as competition to the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). CBS began as a major contributor in the radio business, then moved into television as that transition of medium was occurring .
Divisions of the Company
CBS Corporation branches out to all sorts of media, including radio, television, film, cable, as well as interactive media. The company owns a wide variety of operations such as its own television distribution, consumer products, television studios, home entertainment, and sports networks. CBS also has joint ventures with major companies such as Lionsgate and Warner Bros. Entertainment. Their deal with Warner Bros. allowed them to create the CW, a television network that has produced successful shows such as “Arrow” and “The Vampire Diaries” . The partnership between Lionsgate and CBS led the the development of “Pop”, which combines both major companies talents in programming, production, and distribution.
CBS is a publicly traded company in the New York Stock Exchange, listed as CBS.A and CBS. Their stock has seen a steady increase over the past year, currently sitting at $60 per share, as opposed to $50 per share a year ago . CBS had a successful third quarter this year, with revenues increasing 4 percent to $3.4 billion. Revenue is up from $3.26 billion at the same time last year. This was due to an increase in revenues and fees from CBS affiliate stations and a growth in their digital distribution platforms. There was also a negative impact in advertising revenue from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, the first Presidential debate, and the 2016 Summer Olympics .
Some of the largest contributors to CBS’s success are its cable networks, such as Showtime Networks and CBS Sports Network. Their revenue increased 14% to $598 million in this third quarter, growing from $526 million in last year’s third quarter. This aspect of the company will continue to prosper, with the growth in over-the-top (OTT) streaming services across media .
Right now, CBS Corporation is attempting to close a deal in which Viacom will merge with CBS. Both Sumner and Shari Redstone, Chairman and Vice Chairman of CBS, are large supporters of the deal. However, what is halting the deal is both companies board of directors have obligations to their shareholders. These shareholders are still exploring the potential problems that could happen if the deal were to be made. Some of these issues include pricing and structure after the merger is made. Even though the deal is still in talks, it is likely that it will happen because a single family, the Redstone’s, own 80 percent of both companies .
With the emergence of AT&T’s aggressively priced DirectTV Now (merging internet and television like never before), CBS is left to wonder one question: Why? A deal of this magnitude essentially leaves CBS yearning to somehow affiliate itself with this mega-deal. CBS has already taken the initiative to converge with other prosperous companies, inking a small deal with Google that involves a “skinny bundle” of TV networks to be called YouTube Unplugged. The drive CBS has to concern itself with as many large companies as possible depicts its drive to remain a powerful media conglomerate .CBS has been in the preproduction process of a new Star Trek series titled Star Trek: Discovery. This series will only be available on CBS’s online streaming service CBS All Access, after premiering on CBS. The decision to stream the show was made because science fiction shows have historically done poorly on broadcast television. CBS believes that a majority of Star Trek fans will pay for the services of CBS All Access so they will not miss out on the new series. Star Trek: Discovery is said to have a diverse and better represented cast, with a female lead and at least one gay character . The company is hoping that this new series will also bring more viewers to this service, with about 1 million subscribers already. A commercial-free option of CBS All Access is now available, which costs $9.99 a month, as opposed to the ad-supported service costing $5.99 a month . CBS is starting to take similar approaches to that of Netflix. Leslie Moonves stated that he is a big fan of Netflix and is taking some strategies that will help with CBS All Access. Rather than just displaying old shows on All Access, CBS has decided to take the same approach as Netflix by creating its own original shows. They use this strategy in order for their viewers to keep interest in All Access and not cancel their memberships. Previously, there would only be two or three buyers to get content from CBS. Now, streaming services are benefitting CBS Corporation because they can sell their syndicated content to Netflix, as opposed to these two or three buyers.
There has also been continuing success with CBS’s subsidiary, Showtime. Showtime is another over-the-top streaming site, similar to All Access. Moonves is going to make a continual amount of original programming, aiming for once a month released series or seasons. He also wants there to be an increase from about one million to four million subscribers in the next few years .
CBS has added six new shows this fall season to their primetime lineup, three comedies and three dramas. The three comedies are Kevin Can Wait, Man With a Plan, and The Great Indoors. These shows have big-name stars, such as Kevin James, Matt LeBlanc, and Joel McHale. The new dramas, Bull, MacGyver, and Pure Genius attract a wide range of audiences due to the differences of the casts. These shows are doing well so far, but time will tell which ones remain on the network and which will not make the cut .
It was announced November 28th that CBS CEO and Chairman Leslie Moonves will be attending the UBS 44th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference in New York City on December 5th for a question-and-answer session . This is a conference where companies join to meet and host formal presentations over a three day period .
Two new shows are set to premiere later in the 2016-2017 season on CBS. Training Day and Doubt are both dramas that revolve around crime and the legal system. This will hopefully help the ratings of the other dramas already showing on CBS . The future of CBS Corporation looks very bright, and many changes are set for the upcoming months and years.
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