CBS' Sumner Redstone: Strike is no problem
Sumner M. Redstone, executive chairman of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., said today that the entertainment and broadcast giants he controlled would “not be materially affected” by the writers strike.
"Look, we’ve been preparing for this for a long time,” Redstone said. “We’re certainly not happy about it and we hope that it is settled amicably, but we feel we’re pretty well positioned to live with a strike.”
He noted that CBS prime-time shows such as the “CSI” series, “Criminal Minds” and “Two and a Half Men” lend themselves fairly well to repeats. Viacom’s Paramount Pictures studio has a slate of already-produced films that should last it for a good while, he said.
Redstone made the remarks in an interview following a speech he gave at a media conference in Manhattan. A main theme of his speech was the importance of respect for copyrights in an industry beset with piracy and illegal digital downloading. Earlier this year, Viacom filed a $1-billion lawsuit against YouTube and its corporate parent, Google Inc., stemming from unauthorized posting of such Viacom shows as “The Colbert Report” and “South Park” on YouTube.
Redstone was asked whether there was any tension between Viacom’s view that copyright owners are entitled to compensation and its opposition to the writers union’s demand to be paid for digital versions of their creations.
“There’s no tension, no,” Redstone said. “They are creators of copyright material, and that material is protected. The disagreement –- and there are always disagreements in business -– is to what extent and where they are compensated.”
-- Thomas S. Mulligan