CBS CEO says the network is open to Apple TV deal

Yesterday, during the network’s earnings call, CBS CEO Les Moonves responded to an analyst’s question regarding his willingness to do business with Apple. As expected, his answer fell somewhere along the lines of, “Sure, as long as it’s on our terms.”

The question came in wake of the recent addition of the Hulu Plus service to Apple TV. Now that executives have hashed out that seemingly impossible deal, a lot of folks seem to have a “the sky’s the limit” attitude towards the Apple TV platform…

AllThingsD‘s Peter Kafka has the transcript of the exchange (via Seeking Alpha):

Anthony J. DiClemente — Barclays Capital, Research Division

Okay. And then one for Les. You — I’m sure — you may have seen that Apple TV added Hulu onto its platform this week. I’m just wondering, when you think about Apple, are you in any way philosophically opposed to offering CBS on the Apple TV platform? And I know I — just from prior experience, I’m sure your answer will have something to do with getting paid for your content. But more specifically, is there anything you need to see or specifically anything you need to get in order to be convinced that that’s a smart strategy for CBS?

Leslie Moonves

Look, Anthony, you’ve — we’ve had this discussion many times before. You’re right, it depends what the terms are, it depends what we get paid for. It depends on what effect Apple TV would have on either our advertising, our syndication or our retrans, which are our 3 main buckets of revenue for our content. So if it sits in well, like Netflix did and Amazon did, we’re happy to discuss it. If it doesn’t and we’re — they’re using our content to build a business, we’re not quite as favorable to that. So the devil is in the details. I know it sounds like a pat answer, but it’s really true.”

This isn’t the first time Moonves has talked about the possibility of an Apple TV deal. Back in November of last year, the CEO mentioned, on a similar earnings call, that his network had been approached by Apple regarding a streaming TV service. But they turned them down due to a disagreement regarding revenue split.

As we’ve said before, trying to obtain the proper TV and movie licensing deals can get pretty murky. In fact, this is believed to be one of the largest roadblocks standing in the way of Apple releasing its long-rumored television set. Just look how long it took HBO to allow users to re-download purchased content from the cloud.

Regardless, the Hulu Plus deal does make you wonder what else Apple has in its pipeline. Could we be getting closer to an Apple TV streaming service? Maybe. If nothing else, the fact that networks are talking about it is a good sign.