Accuracy in Media

CBS, which has been furiously trimming overhead for the last few years, rewarded CEO Les Moonves with $57.7 million in compensation last year.

According to the L.A. Times Moonves’ CBS didn’t bat an eyelash when asked about the super-sized pay package:

CBS justified the nearly 34% increase, saying that Moonves’ leadership of CBS resulted in “extraordinary growth in shareholder value, and outpaced both the industry and the company’s internal targets.”

Things are going better for CBS with revenue up 8% — thanks to a rebound in the ad market which has fueled a near doubling of the stock price in the last year — but as the Times also noted it only brings the company back to 2007 levels.

Revenues at $14 billion were virtually unchanged from three years ago, but more telling was that the company was roughly 30% less profitable during the same period.

Moonves didn’t suffer much during the 2007-2008 period. When ad revenues plummeted at the network and employees were being laid off, he collected nearly $69 million in compensation, highlighting the disconnect between pay and performance.

While Moonves’ compensation may seem out of whack to the financial results at CBS, it isn’t uncommon at the network.  After all, they are paying Katie Couric $15 million per year to deliver third-place results every evening.


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