CBS Head Claims Steve Jobs Pitched TV Subscriptions

Les MoonvesThe late Steve Jobs approached CBS to ask the media giant for content for an Apple television subscription service, according to CBS CEO Les Moonves. The Hollywood Reporter reported that Mr. Moonves made the comments on Saturday at a conference, where he also said that he rejected Mr. Jobs’s attempts to make a deal.

Apple and Steve Jobs have been rumored to be working on some kind of subscription TV service for years, possibly as an á la carte service that would allow users to choose only those shows that they want.

Unfortunately for Apple, that’s an idea that scares the bejesus out of the TV networks who are terrified at the idea of disrupting their current business model and revenue streams that involve commercials and licensing deals with satellite and cable companies. According to Mr. Moonves, that was why he rejected Mr. Jobs’s offer.

“I told Steve, ‘You know more than me about 99 percent of things but I know more about the television business,’ ” he said at the conference.

He added that Mr. Jobs strongly disagreed with his assessment, though whether he was referring to the comment about knowing more about the television industry or Mr. Moonves’s assessment of the deal being offered was unclear in The Hollywood Reporter’s account. Either way, it would certainly be considered classic Steve Jobs, who was known for being a man of strong opinions.

Apple hasn’t announced a subscription service, but in recent weeks, the company has been successful in broadening its iCloud streaming options for shows purchased on iTunes.

Photograph of Les Moonves courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.