ML Media Conferece: Les Moonves, Co-COO, Viacom

Les Moonves, Viacom’s co-COO (and in line to be the CEO of the new spinoff with CBS Corporation) spoke at the Merrill Lynch Media & Entertainment conference earlier this week, and stressed the online component (his archived webcast is here)

— Audience watch what’s on, not where they get it..we view technology as our friend. Our brand of content is not just valuable now, but in all future use of technology.

— Larry Kramer is our new Internet Guru, said Moonves. We now have a large dedicated sales force whose sole purpose is to sell online media for these three brands:, CBS SportsLine and Internet is becoming the new cable..

— Additional revenues streams: Sky is the limit..telephony.

Digital multicasting: CBS plans to begin digital multicasting in all of its markets by fall 2006. “There will be a ‘CBS 2′” in each of those markets, Moonves said, noting that top executives just had a meeting about multicasting last week. The expanded bandwidth of digital technology makes it possible to fit several channels onto one broadcast signal.

— The company does not anticipate any major acquisitions in the near future, though if certain “tuck-in” properties become available in the Internet sector, CBS could consider them, if such deals would be accretive to shareholders.

VOD: We will get paid for VOD for our top quality content in the next few years.