CBS (NYSE: CBS) president Leslie Moonves will visit Last.fm in London this week – and is likely to emerge having developed plans to replicate the social network’s music prowess across the entertainment powerhouse’s portfolio. America’s top TV network bought the community for $280 million (£137.38 million) in March. Opening Mipcom with a keynote speech here in Cannes today, Moonves explained: “It’s our first venture in to social networking. It’s social networking about content – we’re a content company. They have great technology. If there’s social networking around music, there should be about sports shows, about news shows… As a result, we view this as a great future possibility for us – (it’s an) advertising base, we’re beginning to sell advertising throughout the world; our users are 70 percent international, it’s London-based and only 30 percent of the traffic’s from the United States.” In theory, that could mean discussion communities around the David Letterman Show or 60 Minutes, not musicians.
CBS may distribute commercial programming via the likes of iTunes Store but, as opposed to paying to download programming: “Our initial instinct that the advertising model on the internet might be the future … Supported by advertising is going to be the way to go in many many cases; companies like Google (NSDQ: GOOG) seem to agree.” Asked if CBS could achieve double-digit growth, Moonves placed his faith in online: “We purchased Last.fm, we’ve made 14 investments in things like Joost and different companies like that – and I think the evolution to companies like that will hopefully lead us in to a faster growing business.” And he said the days of TV execs’ dependencies on ratings was “over’ thanks to time-shifted viewing options like DVRs.