So. Did you catch what CBS resident Head Guy Les Moonves said on CNBC not too long ago? (Side: What in the name of The Good Wife is a CBS executive doing on an NBC network?! The world has gone mad, I tell you! Mad!). It was fairly intriguing. It involved Aereo. And, most importantly, it may or may not be a whole Undercover Boss-load of smokescreen. But we’ll get back to that in a minute. For now, here’s Mike Flacy of Digital Trends …
“Mentioned within a CNBC interview with Les Moonves this week, the CBS President said that the network could potentially build a system identical to Aereo that offers up live streaming network content over the Internet through a subscription model and include DVR capabilities as well,” he wrote. “Within the interview, Moonves said ‘If we don’t win, we have other ways of making up for it. It’s nothing I lose sleep over.’ When asked about the ways to make up for it, Moonves stated ‘Putting our shows directly on cable, forming our own Aereo with other networks, going over the top. Lots of solutions. No fear on my part.'”
Ahhh, the old, “The pilot says the plane is going down, but I knew I was going to die someday anyway” trick. Or, the old, “I’m so far above this pesky start-up nonsense, that no matter what happens, you can’t shake me” move. Or, the old, “You can’t quit me, I’m fired!” statement in which so many rich, powerful people invest.
And to think I thought the phrase “no fear” left this earth when those T-shirts stopped selling 15 years ago.
Anyway, is this nothing more than an obnoxious example of hubris, or does Moonves already have the wheels in motion for an over-the-top service that CBS could offer to lowly TV Without A TV types such as myself (and, hopefully, you!)? The explicit nature with which the guy spoke seems a little curious, no? I mean, it’s got the feeling of someone insisting that he “doesn’t care if she cheated on me because I never really liked her in the first place,” even though he knows he’ll never get over her, does it not?
Sort of like, “I’d be much more inclined to believe that you’ll be fine no matter what happens if you never actually told me that you’d be fine no matter what happens.”
The interesting thing comes at the bottom of Flacy’s piece, when he notes how Moonves believes the networks will lose their case against Aereo once it arrives on the Supreme Court’s steps in a few weeks … before explaining that it’s likely the Supreme Court will side with anyone but Easy A by the time it’s all said and done. So, either the reporter is wrong. Or the high-level executive is wrong.
That, friends, is a whole lot of wrong.
Either way, this will add an awfully worthwhile wrinkle into however this Aereo Vs. The World saga plays out. If CBS begins a similar service, you would have to think that it would be infinitely more available than Aereo has been thus far. Though if Aereo ends up losing, it may end up setting the whole Internet TV niche back a year or four. Why?
Well, 1) CBS wouldn’t be motivated to get their product off the ground without the heat they currently feel from a service such as Aereo pushing them to do something. And 2) anyone who even thinks about taking the system to task again would be scared out of their antennas to actually move forward with whatever web service they might offer. Yeah, Aereo won each low-court decision to this point, but would somebody really want to go through all this stuff again, only to see it all crumble to pieces when it matters most? It would be a sad, sad day, friends. A sad, sad day.
For now, however, we wait. We wait until this thing is argued and we wait to see if CBS wants to be the first big boy to finally make that jump into an increasingly populated adult pool. No matter what, things are going to change. This much, we know is true. Having to see a guy as successful and influential as Moonves posture in such a manner, though, is unbecoming at best and downright pathetic at worst.
“We are going to win either way,” he asserted. Really, dude? Yeah, so, why don’t you go sit through a “Two And A Half Men” marathon and reassess your product’s worth. Maybe then you won’t be so quick to sound this insufferable in public.
I can hear the chants beginning to formulate now, 45 miles away from our nation’s capital: “Let’s go Aereo!” Let’s go Aereo!”