CBS Corporation’s longtime international leader and the man who led the acquisition of Network 10, Armando Nuñez, was this week given Variety’s International Achievement in Television Award at the MipTV sales conference in Cannes.
“I have always loved the ability to interact with people from different parts of the world,” Nuñez told Variety’s business editor Cynthia Littleton of his 35-year (and counting) career. “I love creating relationships that last for decades. And I love the concept of exporting Americana in all its different ways, shapes and forms.”
He moved into the top international sales post at CBS in 1999. During the past decade he’s led CBS’ charge to expand internationally. He drove CBS’ 2017 acquisition of Australian broadcaster Network 10.
Nuñez has been instrumental in growing CBS’ international revenue by “several multiples” during the past 10 years, according to Joe Ianniello, CBS president and acting CEO.
“We have to be able to compete on a global scale,” Ianniello says. “Armando’s knowledge of international territories has given us the confidence to do deals like [the acquisition of] Network 10.”
Nuñez began forging his path in international sales at a time when producers saw international sales potential as “a nice little add-on” for a show. This was back in the era when Scandinavian TV buyers paid studios for programs by the minute, and some countries would only take a handful of episodes of shows.
“International was seen as a little icing on the cake,” Nuñez says. “Now it is the cake.”
Nuñez was instrumental in leading CBS’ acquisition in 2017 of Australian broadcaster Network 10 after the company ran into financial trouble and entered bankruptcy proceedings. The process started with CBS trying to sort out the impact of Network 10’s travails and the potential for CBS to be left with a big unpaid bill for programming. As Nuñez monitored the channel’s fate, it became clear to him that a revitalized Network 10 could play a big role in CBS’ global expansion plans.
“We went through an evolutionary process in our thinking. We started out with ‘Oh boy we’ve got a potential issue here’ to ‘There are assets that are unique here,’ ” Nuñez recalls. “I made about five or six trips to Australia in the same amount of months.”
Nuñez hints that CBS is looking for more network assets to scoop up in key territories. “We’re always looking for opportunities to expand our footprint and monetize our content in different ways.”
Photo: L-R Variety’s Stewart Clarke, Variety International Achievement in TV Award recipient Armando Nuñez and Reed Midem’s Paul Zilk