There's been a fresh round of "Apple is building a TV" rumors lately, and now comments by CBS CEO Les Moonves during his company's earnings call may reveal more about what Cupertino would like to do. Many of the rumors are based on quotes by Steve Jobs in his biography that he "cracked" a way to make an integrated TV set that was easier to use -- a major jump from the current Apple TV add-on box. While responding to analyst questions about why CBS isn't on Hulu, Moonves mentioned the network did not join in "Apple TV" for the same reason: because it (like Hulu) was an advertiser split.

As we've discussed at length on the podcast, any efforts to remake how the TV business works won't get far without content, and so far CBS and its fellow studios have not been interested in playing ball. Why is that? According to Moonves, current deals (with cable and satellite, for example) are worth "hundreds and hundreds of millions" in guaranteed cash payments, and rather than seeking a share of advertising down the road, he thinks a "guaranteed revenue stream is a good way to go." Hit the source link to read the full transcript at Seeking Alpha or check after the break to read his words for yourself. It's a revealing look at why the potential task left to Tim Cook (or his counterparts at Google, Microsoft, and wherever else) of negotiating a new business model for home video may be even harder to crack than designing the perfect UI.

Leslie Moonves:

"We -- frankly, we don't believe in them. We're not going to go out and we've sort of -- we've even been against joining Apple TV, which was an advertiser split. And these deals are significant in that we are getting guaranteed cash payment. We like operating on that basis. And as you said, we've been able to do deals worth hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars on that basis. That is our position right now. Will we ever make a statement that, that never could happen? I wouldn't right now because we don't know how the world evolves, but I like the way we played our hand and getting this guaranteed revenue stream is a good way to go."