Les hates 'Stepford Wives,' but not Freston

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Viacom's Co-Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Les Moonves, in a wide-ranging Q&A session with Ad Age's Scott Donaton at the ANA TV Ad Forum last week, spoke on topics ranging from the upfront to the third screen.

On his relationship with Co-Chairman and Co-Chief Operating Officer Tom Freston: "Tom Freston is a great guy, there are no personality problems. ... We've been in the job too short a time to kill each other."

On the response to Viacom's proposed split, which has portrayed CBS as a value stock vs. MTV as a high-growth stock: "Jeff Sagansky [former CBS Entertainment chief] said they're treating CBS like it's Con Edison. I wouldn't say that. ... We're looking at local opportunities in outdoor and radio. Radio is still $1 billion in profit, it may not grow 20% but it's still a good business. MTV is going to continue to do what it does well. Paramount has been pretty terrible, but with new management hopefully they'll start putting on movies that attract people under 60 and not `The Stepford Wives."'

On whether marketers should continue to buy using the upfront model: "The upfront has worked for us; we've been up for the past five years. We continue to grow and look forward to it. Look at our Thursday night, you can guarantee what it will be, what are you waiting for? Why do you have to wait to eat cold pizza at 4 a.m.? Let's skip Carnegie Hall, we'll go straight to Tavern on the Green. We are willing to sell all year round."

On upfront price increases: "We've had increases these last five years. On [CPMs] I'm not going there, how much the increase is ... you always play it by ear, you make your call at the right moment. It was a different call when we didn't feel we were getting our value."

On CBS's prospects in new media: "I don't think we'll put entire episodes [on cell phones] but we might do the Top 10 on David Letterman, sports coverage of NCAA or `Entertainment Tonight.' There was talk of a one-minute `CSI.' We're looking at several new revenue streams, the only way to go is VOD which we're anticipating. [New media] will be an important part of our revenue stream."

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