CBS's Moonves Says Amazon and S&S Are Negotiating
Amazon and Simon & Schuster have begun negotiating over terms, according to Leslie Moonves. CEO of CBS, which owns S&S, he spoke at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo. (Fortune posted his panel, which is available here.)
Asked about Amazon in general, he said, "I heard the word frenemy before, and I think you could say that about lots of companies out there. I recently met with Jeff Bezos in Sun Valley, and we talked about our various businesses."
He noted that CBS and Amazon work together in a variety of ways but are also competitors, particularly in "original premium content." CBS, which owns Showtime, produces programming for Amazon and Netflix, for example, while Amazon creates its own programming. "That's the way of the world that most of the companies that you talk about today are our competitors as well as our friends," he added.
Asked how it would be if Amazon treated S&S authors the way it has treated Hachette authors, Moonves said, "We are negotiating with Amazon as we speak, so I don't want to get into too much detail about it. Obviously Amazon has a very definitive point of view on what should be done in the publishing business. Those in the publishing world are not totally copacetic with it because they do control an awful lot of the--a very high percentage of those books. It's going to be a very interesting thing to watch as we go down the future."
So far, there is no hint of the kinds of disagreements that led Amazon to take punitive measures against Hachette.