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CBS Corporation’s mission is to to create and distribute industry-leading content across a variety of platforms to audiences around the world.
CBS Corporation is a mass media company engaged in commercial broadcasting, television production, and publishing. The firm operates four reportable business segments:
- Entertainment – Consists of the CBS Television Network; CBS Television Studios; CBS Global Distribution Group, the firm’s TV production and syndication operations; CBS Interactive, the firm’s online content networks for information and entertainment; and CBS Films, the firm’s producer and distributor of theatrical motion pictures. Accounted for 61% of revenues in 2015.
- Cable Networks – Consists of Showtime Networks, which operates the firm’s premium subscription program services; CBS Sports Network, the firm’s cable network focused on college athletics and other sports; and Smithsonian Networks, a venture between Showtime Networks and Smithsonian Institution, which operates Smithsonian Channel, a basic cable program service, and a digital streaming subscription service. Accounted for 16% of revenues in 2015.
- Publishing – Consists of Simon & Schuster, which publishes and distributes consumer books in the U.S. and internationally under imprints such as Simon & Schuster, Scribner, Pocket Books, Touchstone, Gallery Books, and Atria Books. Accounted for 6% of revenues in 2015.
- Local Broadcasting – Consists of of CBS Television Stations (30 owned broadcast television stations) and CBS Radio, (117 owned radio stations in 26 U.S. markets and related online properties). Accounted for 19% of revenues in 2015.
In 1927 talent agent Arthur Judson launched United Independent Broadcasters, a radio network, in Chicago. He obtained a significant investment from the Columbia Phonograph Company (owner of Columbia Records) and the network’s name changed to Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System. It went on the air that September, on flagship station WOR and 15 affiliate stations.
Operational costs were high, prompting Columbia Phonograph to relinquish its ownership. In 1928 Judson sold the company again to Leon and Isaac Levy, owners of a Philadelphia affiliate; they handed management duties over to Bill Paley. Paley renamed it Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), and later that year bought a large share and became its majority owner, with 51% of the business.
CBS got into the world of television when it opened the New York statoin W2XAB in 1931. It offered the first seven-day broadcasting schedule on American TV, with 28 hours of weekly programming. 1952 saw the formation of CBS Films, its TV syndication division; it was renamed CBS Enterprises in 1968, renamed Viacom in 1971, then spun-off later that year as a separate company.
Over the next two decades CBS became a giant, and was renamed CBS Corporation. Viacom became an entertainment conglomerate. In 1999 Viacom acquired CBS Corp. In 2005 Viacom revealed its plans to separate into two public firms due to struggling stock prices. In 2005 it split into Viacom and another company that retook the name CBS Corporation; CBS retained all of the broadcast TV assets.
Benefits at CBS Corporation
Business model of CBS Corporation
CBS has a mass market business model, with no significant differentiation between customer segments. The company targets its offerings at all consumers who want to view media.
CBS offers two primary value propositions: accessibility and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by offering a wide variety of options. It presents its content on a broad range of platforms, including television, film, radio, the Internet, and publishing.
The company has established a powerful brand due to its success. It owns one of the largest libraries of content in the world and controls many prominent brands, including Showtime and Simon & Schuster. Its content is licensed to over 200 markets in over 30 languages. It operates the most-watched TV network in the U.S., CBS Television, which has been #1 in overall viewership for 13 of the past 14 years. The network broadcasts TV’s top-rated drama (“NCIS”), top-rated comedy (“The Big Bang Theory”), and top-rated news program (“60 Minutes”). Lastly, CBS Interactive, the firm’s online content network, has over 280 million monthly worldwide visitors.
CBS’s main channel is its television network, through which it acquires most of its customers. The company promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, and advertising.
CBS’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service nature. Customers utilize its programming through its various platforms while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website provides information such as program scheduling and answers to common questions. That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of phone and e-mail support.
CBS’s business model entails creating much of its content and programming and maintaining a wide variety of robust platforms on which to distribute them.
CBS’s key partners are the production companies and other program creators that provide the content for its various platforms.
CBS’s main resource is its intellectual property, which includes logos, trade names, trademarks and related trademark families. They represent significant assets for the company as they provide brand identification. The company also depends on physical resources in the form of facilities for the production of some of its programming.
CBS has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation and low-price value propositions. Its biggest cost driver is sales/marketing, a fixed cost. Other major drivers are in the areas of product development and administration, both fixed costs.
CBS has three revenue streams:
- Advertising Revenues – Revenues generated from fees charged to third parties for promoting their products and services on the company’s various platforms.
- Content Licensing and Distribution Revenues – Revenues generated from fees charged for the licensing of internally-produced TV programming and the distribution of third-party programs, and from the publishing and distribution of consumer books.
- Affiliate and Subscription Revenues – Revenues generated from MVPDs (multichannel video programming distributors) for carriage of the company’s cable networks (cable affiliate fees), as well as for authorizing the MVPDs’ carriage of the company’s owned television stations (retransmission fees); fees received from TV stations affiliated with the CBS Television Network (station affiliation fees); subscription fees for online content; and revenues received for the distribution of pay-per-view boxing events.
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