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Shari Redstone, who controls CBS, thinks the NFL is on too many networks

“It got very confusing for the consumer with the NFL last year.”

Shari Redstone, Viacom, Advancit Capital, Code 2017 Asa Mathat

Back in October, the head of CBS, Les Moonves, suggested that NFL ratings were down because there might be too much football.

It turns out his boss and the controlling owner of CBS, Shari Redstone, agrees.

“It got very confusing for the consumer with the NFL last year,” Redstone said Wednesday at Recode’s annual Code Conference. “I think they were on too many networks, they started to commoditize the experience and not really keep it as something that was really special on Sundays, on Thursdays. You didn’t know what network it was found on.”

Redstone is a football diehard and has been a New England Patriots season ticket holder since 1986; she says that unless the Patriots were playing on “Thursday Night Football,” she might not watch the games.

“If I see something [else] on my way to the football game, I may not watch,” she added. “It got [to be] too much. Too many stations, too many networks.”

Don’t expect that to change anytime soon. The NFL has the same TV partners slated for this upcoming season, plus additional digital partners like Amazon and Verizon that will stream games over the internet as part of its strategy to get NFL content in front of more people who might not watch on a television.

Despite all that, Redstone says she isn’t concerned that CBS has spent big on NFL distribution rights, including a $450 million commitment to stream “Thursday Night Football” for two years, a deal that expires after this season.

“People want exclusive content,” Redstone explained, and the NFL scratches that itch for CBS. “I have full confidence in the NFL. They are a great organization and we love our football.”

Watch her full interview at Recode’s Code Conference below.

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