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CBS Corp. May Create Original Series for Netflix

CEO Says It Doesn't Consider Provider a Rival

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CBS Corp. may produce an original series for Netflix, the company said during its earnings call on Wednesday.

Les Moonves
Les Moonves Credit: CBS

"When you look at the Netflixes of the world and the Amazons of the world doing new production, we welcome that ," CBS CEO Les Moonves told analysts. "We are talking to Netflix about a potential deal to produce a show for them. Until they are doing 22 hours a week of premium content, we don't look at them as a competitor but rather another place to put our content, whether it's original or buying our libraries as they have."

CBS declined to elaborate further on any production plans.

Networks have been supplying library content -- typically a few seasons old -- to Netflix, Amazon and other platforms for streaming. They have been highly profitable deals. The possibility of CBS's producing new content that would air exclusively on Netflix could create another opportunity for broadcast and cable networks to team up with streaming services.

But there has also been concern that Netflix, Amazon and Hulu will eventually cannibalize viewership. Some analysts believe that Nickelodeon's recent ratings decline resulted from kids programming on Netflix, although both Nickelodeon parent Viacom and Netflix both dismiss any connection.

Netflix and Hulu have been trying hard to differentiate themselves with original programming. Netflix launched its first series, "Lilyhammer," this month and is backing another original series, "Orange is the New Black," Bloomberg reported this week. Netflix previously signed on for the original Kevin Spacey drama, "House of Cards," and the revival of "Arrested Development."

Hulu has also been beefing up its original content, introducing "The Fashion Fund" and "Battleground" this month.

Amazon could also be entering the fray. It is looking for talent to create original programming through its People's Production Co., according to Amazon's job site. The company seeks a creative executive to "help develop half-hour comedies for online and tradition distribution," as well as a creative director to develop half-hour children's series.

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