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CBS CEO turned down Steve Jobs over Apple TV subscriptions to protect 'existing revenue streams'

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CBS CEO Les Moonves has revealed that he personally turned down an approach from Steve Jobs over licensing the network's content for Apple TV.

New Apple TV
New Apple TV

It's been rumored for a while that Apple is struggling to land content deals for its much-anticipated "true" entry into the TV business, and CBS's CEO Les Moonves has offered some insight on why that might be. Speaking at the UCLA Entertainment Symposium in a conference attended by the Hollywood Reporter, Moonves said he turned down Steve Jobs personally over the offer of making CBS shows part of a subscription-based content package.

"I told Steve, 'You know more than me about 99 percent of things but I know more about the television business.' "

What does Moonves know that Jobs didn't? He cited fears over disrupting the network's existing revenue streams, an assessment with which Jobs predictably disagreed. This isn't the first time CBS has said it turned down an approach from Apple, but last we heard the reason was a dispute over advertising revenue — we're not sure if Moonves is referring to the same conversation here. CBS is similarly reluctant to allow its shows on Hulu, but has made content available on Netflix and Amazon for upfront licensing fees. While Moonves certainly sounds confident in his knowledge of the TV industry, these latest comments suggest that he's only interested in making money the way he knows how.