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Big Media Moguls With Out-Of-Whack Compensation: Exclusive Deadline List

Highest Paid Media ExecutivesHere’s a question to ask yourself if you aren’t sure whether media mogul pay reflects merit or cronyism: Did Viacom and CBS executive chairman Sumner Redstone deserve $93M, an 80% year-over-year increase, in the combined compensation he received from the companies in 2013? The answer to this query, and others like it, seems especially relevant here in Deadline’s fourth annual effort to try to make sense of the outsized sums media companies pay their leaders. They’re among the most lavishly compensated in corporate America where CEOs made 206 times what the average worker did in 2011, up from 26.5 times in 1978, economist Thomas Piketty notes in his surprise bestselling new book about growing wealth disparities. Compensation 1That strikes many as fundamentally unfair: The California legislature is weighing a bill that would raise tax rates for companies that give their CEOs more than 100 times the average pay for their workers.

Here’s our contribution to the discussion: a tally of the highest-paid executives in media, with metrics and analysis to help you decide what they’re worth. The chart on the right (click to enlarge) shows media execs whose compensation exceeded $10M in 2013 according to company proxies. Below you’ll find our in-depth look at the top 11 earners on the list. Why 11? That enables us to add Rupert Murdoch, who shouldn’t be left out of any discussion of media wealth and power. Those in this Group of 11 collectively made $448.6M in 2013, +15.6% vs 2012, with their median pay  +8.3% to $32.5M.

Out Of Whack – 2012
Out Of Whack — 2011
Out Of Whack — 2010

One of the things you’ll see is how much Redstone contributes to the high level of executive pay in media. He and other leaders at corporations he controls occupy four of the 11 spots on our list. That has a ripple effect: All companies represented here (with a caveat, discussed below, for News Corp) include Viacom and CBS in the list of peers against which they benchmark pay for their own execs. And Redstone isn’t all that unusual. You frequently see high pay at enterprises, like many in media, run by families that own little equity but control decision-making by virtue of their supervoting shares.

Boards usually justify their high outlays by pointing to metrics of company success, which they credit to the CEOs. But while those on this list are smart and shrewd, it’s worth asking how much of their good fortune — including their rising stock prices — also represents good luck. Keep in mind that all of the media powers represented by this year’s top 11 own broadcast and/or pay TV channels. Cable and satellite companies complain that these programmers have oligopoly power to raise prices on distributors. Many are aggressively doing so, which distributors say pressures them to raise your rates. Programmers also benefit from a new source of cash: license fees from digital services including Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Executive compensation payOur list and the charts that follow include Deadline’s annual Out-of-Whack analysis. It illustrates not only that CEOs make vastly more than the public. Some boards are far more generous to the top dog than they are to others in the C-suite. That could be a sign that directors are in the CEO’s pocket, or lack confidence in their executive bench, many corporate governance experts say. In any case, research shows that lopsided outlays promote groupthink, damage morale, and often depress a company’s stock price. It’s a judgement call as to how much of a disparity is too much. Yet those who track the phenomenon typically become alarmed when a CEO makes more than three times the median for the four other top execs whose income must be disclosed to shareholders per SEC rules. Eighteen of the 30 companies we monitor and that have filed information for 2013 failed the test, often miserably, up from 14 out of 31 last year. Read More »

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CBS Corp Ups Shannon Jacobs To SVP Communications

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 10:58am PDT

CBS CORPORATEShannon Jacobs, previously VP Communications, will manage the New York-based corporate communications team as well as continue to lead media relations efforts for all of CBS TV’s corporate functions including ad sales, research, affiliate relations, governmental and legal affairs, program practices and engineering. She will continue to report to CBS Corp EVP Communications Dana McClintock. Jacobs joined CBS in 2005 as CBS was preparing to split from Viacom. Before that she was Director of Corporate Communications at NBCUniversal.

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CBS Outdoor Announces IPO Price; Trading Expected To Begin Tomorrow

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 4:46pm PDT

CbsOutdoorLogoThe outdoor advertising unit of CBS Corp said today that its initial public offering of 20 million shares will be priced at $28 per. With about 17% of the outstanding shares being offered, that values the company at about $3.36 billion. Trading in CBS Outdoor Americas Inc is expected tomorrow on the NYSE under the symbol “CBSO”, with the $560 million IPO ending on or about April 2. CBS Corp plans to divest its remaining shares through a tax-free split-off later this year and eventually convert the unit into a real estate investment trust.

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UPDATE: CBS CEO Leslie Moonves Takes Swipe At Time Warner Cable With Verizon Retrans Announcement

UPDATE, 7:50 AM: CBS CEO Leslie Moonves says the deal CBS just signed with Verizon‘s FiOS TV in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas, among other markets, is virtually identical to the one offered to Time Warner Cable. “This important deal was reached swiftly and amicably in just a few days after our conversations began,” Moonves said pointedly in a memo to staff this morning. “You should know that Time Warner Cable has been offered almost exactly the same deal for CBS carriage to which Verizon has agreed.” TWC is entirely to blame for the “lack of urgency” on its retrans talks with the network, Moonves said.  The Verizon deal gives FiOS over-the-air retrans rights; it does not cover digital rights. (Moonves’ full memo after the original story.)

Related: Time Warner Cable Sued Over CBS Blackouts

PREVIOUS, AM: Three weeks into its battle with Time Warner Cable, CBS — blacked out on TWC in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas — has announced it had reached a new deal for continued retransmission of CBS-owned stations and wider distribution of CBS Sports Network on Verizon’s FiOS TV in multiple markets nationwide, including New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas. “This important deal was reached swiftly and amicably in just a few days after our conversations began,” CBS chairman Leslie Moonves said pointedly in a memo to staff. The Verizon deal includes all of the approximately 3.5 million subscribers served in markets where CBS owns TV stations. FiOS has about 5 million subs total. (CBS and Verizon already had an existing deal for FiOS to carry its Showtime and Smithsonian networks.) “We’ve reached this agreement in partnership with CBS for our customers, so that they may continue to enjoy CBS content on FiOS,” Verizon VP Video Content and Strategy added, pointedly. “Verizon continues to address areas of change where necessary in current policies to better reflect the interests of consumers.”

Related: TWC Offers Free Tennis Channel Preview In Blackout Areas

The announcement comes the morning after CBS and TWC had a mini-breakthrough in their retransmission head-butting. In New York City, both parties agreed to un-black-out Channel 2 for debates for mayor and comptroller. (The debates will also air on channel 75, a backup arrangement CBS made before the mini-truce was struck). Here’s this morning’s CBS/Verizon announcement: Read More »

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NBCU Paying For High-Priced LA Lobbying

By | Friday June 14, 2013 @ 9:27pm PDT

Bigtime lobbying efforts certainly aren’t merely reserved for the halls and haunts of Washington DC. A new report out today from the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission outlined issues that lobbying firms spent the most billable hours working on in LA during the first quarter of 2013. Among them was NBCUniversal’s “Evolution Plan,” the proposed $1.6B upgrade of its TV production facilities, office space and infrastructure on the Universal lot and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area at its Universal Studios Hollywood theme park. The report says NBCUniversal paid more than $330,000 to a pair of lobbying outfits to win hearts and votes for its mammoth undertaking. Another big buyer of lobbying services at City Hall was CBS Outdoor, the CBS Corp-owned billboard giant that spent more than $205,000 to back its interests in outdoor advertising legislation, including the local hot-button issue of digital billboards. And LA Live owner AEG paid $130,000-plus for its quarter worth of lobbying efforts. Hollywood.

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It’s Official: CBS Takes Full Control Of TVGuide.Com, Acquiring Lionsgate’s 50%

By | Friday May 31, 2013 @ 11:42am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

CBS LogoAs we scooped earlier this month, CBS Corp today announced it has wholly acquired TV Guide Digital, which includes the and TV Guide Mobile properties. Under terms of the deal, CBS Corp acquired the remaining 50% stake in TV Guide Digital shares from Lionsgate. The two companies continue as 50/50 partners in the TVGN cable network per their March 26 agreement.

Related: CBS Corp In Talks To Take Full Control Of, Acquiring Lionsgate’s 50% had been valued at about $20 million, and I hear CBS paid a little shy of $10 million for Lionsgate’s half. I hear DirecTV had been in exclusive negotiations to acquire, but the talks did not result in a deal. CBS then decided to step in and incorporate and the TV Guide Mobile apps into CBS Interactive’s Technology, Games and Lifestyle group, which operates similarly TV-focused as well as CNET, GameSpot,, MetroLyrics, Metacritic and CHOW brands, among others. “TV Guide is one of the most-enduring and iconic brands in the world of television and video, and we’re proud to welcome TV Guide Digital to the CBS Interactive family,” said Jim Lanzone, President of CBS Interactive. Here are some stats from CBS’ press release: Read More »

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CBS Corp In Talks To Take Full Control Of, Acquiring Lionsgate’s 50%

By | Friday May 3, 2013 @ 4:53pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: A month after CBS Corp acquired 50% of TV Guide, the company that encompasses TVGN (formerly TV Guide Network) and, I hear CBS is in the process of taking full ownership of CBS has been in a 50-50 partnership with Lionsgate on TV Guide since buying the stake previously owned by One Equity Partners for about $100 million in late March. I’ve learned that CBS is in negotiations with Lionsgate about acquiring its half of The website had been valued at about $20 million, and I hear CBS is paying a little shy of $10 million for Lionsgate’s half of the Web property. I hear DirecTV had been in exclusive negotiations to acquire, but the talks did not result in a deal. CBS then decided to step in and incorporate into its CBS Interactive division, which includes the similar-focused as well as CNET,,, GameSpot, BNET and

Related: Brad Schwartz Named President Of TVGN

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Les Moonves Says CBS Could Go To Cable In “A Few Days” If It Loses Aereo Suit

By | Tuesday April 30, 2013 @ 4:42pm PDT

Les Moonves is out to get Aereo by any means necessary, but he “doesn’t lose sleep over it,” the CBS Corp president and CEO told the Milken Institute’s Global Conference today. “Barry Diller has done what he likes to do, disrupt things,” Moonves added. However, the CBS chief did say that if the situation couldn’t be resolved in the courts, he is more than willing to take CBS to cable. “We can do it in a few days. If we go to cable, if we are forced to, then about 10% of America will not get our signal and I don’t think they will like that,” Moonves said Tuesday. The CBS chief said that with around 2,000 subscribers in NYC, the “illegal” Aereo won’t hurt the network but that he still intends to shut them down. “We will go after them in the courts and if that doesn’t work there are other remedies. There are financial remedies; there are congressional remedies.” On Monday at the conference, IAC CEO Diller said that CBS and the other broadcasters suing Aereo want Congress to save them if their copyright infringement suits fail. Fox and Univision have also threatened to move to cable if Aereo prevails.

Related: Chase Carey Threatens To Make Fox A Pay Channel If Aereo Prevails Read More »

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Media Stocks Help Fuel S&P 500 Record

By | Thursday March 28, 2013 @ 4:44pm PDT

Media companies like CBS Corp and Netflix helped lead the charge for the large-cap stock index, which capped five months of gains today by finishing at 1,569.19, breaking a closing record originally set in October 2007. The S&P closed the quarter up 10%, its strongest frame in a year. Netflix was the benchmark index’s top stock during the quarter, up 104.4 percent at $189.28. Best Buy was up 86.9 percent at $22.15. Among the top performers was CBS Corp, which started the quarter at $39.30 a share and closed today at $46.63, near its high. The markets will be closed tomorrow because of the Good Friday holiday.

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It’s Official: CBS Acquires Half Of TV Guide, Partners With Lionsgate

By | Tuesday March 26, 2013 @ 1:03pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

CBS Corp. just announced that it is acquiring 50% of of TV Guide, the company that encompasses TVGN (formerly TV Guide Network) and The deal adds a basic cable network to its TV portfolio, which includes broadcast networks (CBS and the CW), a pay cable network (Showtime), international TV channels, a TV studio and syndication unit. As we first reported on Friday, CBS is taking over the TV Guide stake held by One Equity Partners, the private-equity arm of J.P. Morgan Chase, which owned 49% of the company, with an option to buy another 1%. CBS is said to be paying about $100 million, less than the $122 million OEP spent in June 2009. CBS joins TVGN co-owner Lionsgate Entertainment. Here is the release:

Related: CBS Poised To Buy Half Of TV Guide, Partner With Lionsgate Read More »

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CBS Poised To Buy Half Of TV Guide, Partner With Lionsgate

By | Friday March 22, 2013 @ 12:09pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: CBS Corp, which already owns/co-owns broadcast networks CBS and the CW, pay cable network Showtime, and international TV channels, is adding a domestic basic cable network to its portfolio. I’ve learned that it is nearing a deal to acquire JP Morgan’s One Equity Partners’ interest in TV Guide, the company that encompasses the TV Guide Network, recently rebranded as TVGN, and With the deal, which could close as early as next week, CBS will become a 50-50 partner with TV Guide co-owner Lionsgate Entertainment, which originally acquired TV Guide in February 2009 for $241.6 million. I hear CBS will play slightly less than the $122.4 million One Equity Partners shelled out for 49% of TV Guide in June 2009 with an option to increase its stake by 1%.

TV Guide had been on the block for years. CBS surfaced as a potential suitor more than a year ago, along with other companies. CBS kicks the tires of potential acquisition targets all the time but rarely makes a move. After a thorough evaluation, I hear CBS concluded that TVGN is a fully distributed cable network (it is currently in 80 million homes) with a lot of upside. Also attractive was the prospect of partnering with another top Hollywood content producer, Lionsgate. … Read More »

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UPDATE: CBS Takes Equity Stake In AXS TV With Plans To Promote Event Programming

By | Thursday February 14, 2013 @ 3:17pm PST

UPDATE, 3:16 PM: Is Les Moonves now, once again, Dan Rather’s boss? Well, a little: Turns out CBS isn’t simply partnering with AXS TV– as the companies framed the arrangement in their announcement today. The network giant has an equity stake in the channel formerly known as HDNet, Moonves told analysts this evening. He didn’t say how much CBS owns of the network which airs Dan Rather Reports or how much it paid, if anything. “Having the power of CBS I’m sure we’ll be able to increase [AXS TV's] affiliate fees, but it won’t be part of our negotiations,” he said. Moonves added that entrepreneur Mark Cuban’s channel will be able to offer “shoulder programming” for live events CBS airs; for example it could have had a show featuring backstage scenes at the Grammy Awards. “It’s a very exciting new prospect for us.” Cuban’s partners at AXS include AEG, Ryan Seacrest Media and Creative Artists Agency.

Here’s the release: Read More »

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News Corp’s HarperCollins And CBS’ Simon & Schuster In Merger Talks: WSJ

By | Tuesday November 20, 2012 @ 3:05pm PST

The News Corp publishing unit has expressed interest in acquiring CBS Corp‘s Simon & Schuster book unit, according to the Wall Street Journal. If true, the overture comes less than a month after News Corp reportedly jumped in the bidding for Pearson’s Penguin book label with an offer the Sunday Times Of London says was for about $1.6 billion, as consolidation is being seen as a way to best transition the industry to digital platforms. Penguin later merged with Bertelsmann’s Random House. The WSJ, which is also owned by News Corp, reports HarperCollins-Simon & Schuster talks are preliminary. Any News Corp publishing entity would reside in its soon-to-be-split-off publishing company along with Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers and education businesses.

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Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman, Episode 9

By | Saturday November 10, 2012 @ 11:00am PST

Listen to the latest episode of Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman podcast here. This week, Deadline Executive Editor Lieberman and host David Bloom discuss what this week’s presidential election may mean for Big Media companies and Hollywood; why Time Warner doesn’t want to create its own broadband subscription channel; and why the CEOs of Disney and CBS are pushing to measure TV ratings over a full week, even as Lionsgate’s boss wants to have some “adjustments” in such an idea.

Deadline Big Media Episode 9 (MP3 format)
Deadline Big Media Episode 9 (M4A format)
Read More »

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CBS Corp Ups Scott Koondel To SVP & Chief Corporate Content Licensing Officer

By | Thursday November 8, 2012 @ 1:38pm PST

CBS Corp veteran Scott Koondel will be tasked with maximizing revenue from the licensing and distribution of content from all of the company’s business units including CBS Studios, CBS Television Network, CBS News, Showtime, CBS Films and CBS Interactive. He also will seek out opportunities to optimize the value of programming assets associated with CBS’ interest in The CW and the CBS library. Koondel will report to CBS Corp EVP and CFO Joseph Ianniello. Read More »

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UPDATE: CBS Q3 Results Short Of Revenue Expectations But Beat In Earnings

By | Wednesday November 7, 2012 @ 1:12pm PST

Things could have been better in a quarter when ad revenues fell 3% — but the end result wasn’t bad. CBS Corp ended up with net income of $391M, +15.7% vs the period last year, on revenues of $3.42B, +1.6%. The revenue figure was slightly shy of the Street’s expectation of $3.49B. But if you factor out a $57M debt repayment, earnings would have come in at 65 cents a share, ahead of forecasts for 61 cents. The Entertainment unit topped most expectations with $1.68B in revenue (+2.9%) and operating income of $346M (-5.5%). The company says that ad sales were down due to competition from the London Olympics, and pre-emptions for the political conventions. But the unit benefited from higher license fees for its programming, and rising retransmission payments from cable and satellite companies. At the Cable Networks, which include Showtime and CBS Sports Network, revenues came in at $436M (+3.8%) with operating income of $221M (+12.2%). License fees were down from last year, when CBS had new streaming video deals, but that was more than covered by rising affiliate and subscription fees.

Related: Les Moonves Urges Industry Watchers To “Stop Looking At Overnight Ratings” Read More »

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CBS Extends Netflix Pact For Overseas Territories

By | Thursday November 1, 2012 @ 8:42am PDT

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 1, 2012 – CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) and Netflix, Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) announced today an extension of their international licensing agreements to stream select CBS Corporation shows in Canada, Latin America, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed. As part of the extended agreements, Netflix members in each of these territories will enjoy previous seasons of Showtime’s DEXTER and popular CBS library programs such as “Charmed,” “Jericho” and “The 4400.” Previous seasons of other critically acclaimed and popular series will be available on a territory-by-territory basis, including CBS’s THE GOOD WIFE and HAWAII FIVE-0, as well as Showtime’s HOUSE OF LIES and THE BORGIAS.

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Sheri Redstone Back In Succession Talk At Viacom And CBS: WSJ

By | Friday October 26, 2012 @ 10:34am PDT

It had long been thought that after a falling out with his daughter years ago that Viacom and CBS Corp chairman Sumner Redstone would hand over the keys to his empire to Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman. But the 89-year-old Redstone told the Wall Street Journal that he’s still deciding on who will replace him to oversee his controlling interest in both companies, and that “my family will ultimately inherit the business”. “It hasn’t been decided yet who will be my successor. And Philippe knows it”, the mogul told the WSJ in an interview published today. “He knows that Shari might be my successor and it’s not a competitive race between them. We have to see what happens.” Shari Redstone, 58, controls 20% of National Amusements, the holding company that controls Viacom and CBS Corp, with her father holding the rest of the stake. Combined, their holdings in Viacom and CBS are worth about $3.5 billion, the paper says. “Philippe understands that my family is important and it could be Shari. I don’t say it will be. It could be either one or both,” Redstone said, adding later that it is likely Dauman would inherit his chairman role at Viacom and that CBS CEO Les Moonves would become chairman of CBS (though after the WSJ interview, Redstone emailed the paper to say that the boards of the companies will “ultimately decide who becomes chairman of each company”). Read More »

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Les Moonves Says If Sony Were Selling Movie & TV Biz, CBS Would Look: WSJ

By | Thursday October 18, 2012 @ 8:29pm PDT

CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves today confirmed longtime speculation that CBS would be interested in buying Sony Corp.’s movie and television studio businesses if they were to become available. “We love our current portfolio, but as a content company, we would want to look at them,” Moonves told the Wall Street Journal in an interview. Moonves emphasized that CBS has no specific plans regarding Sony right now. Some observers have speculated Sony would sell its movie and TV studio businesses if the opportunity arose. Moonves’ remarks to the Journal came as his new extended compensation package — which includes an extra $14.5 million in stock on top of other stock and salary — were filed with the the Securities & Exchange Commission.

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