Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes on Netflix & The ‘Theory’ Of Cord-Cutting
Bewkes was Seidenberg’s special guest, brought up to talk about “TV Everywhere,” Time Warner’s system which allows cable subscribers to access their premium cable content from Internet-enabled devices, like your laptop or now Verizon smartphones. (The video Bewkes showed during the keynote featured CNBC!)
Bewkes is incredibly bullish on what the new tablets and smartphones screens here at CES mean for Time Warner’s bottom line. More screens mean more opportunities for viewers to watch Time Warner’s shows or read Time Inc. magazines. Consuming more content means more ad and subscription revenue for Time Warner [TWX 33.47 0.19 (+0.57%) ].
Does Netflix [NFLX 186.65 -1.23 (-0.65%) ] pose a threat to Time Warner’s premium cable channels like HBO?
Will consumers cut the cord if they can watch tons of content without paying a hefty monthly cable bill? Bewkes says no.
I suggested Netflix was an 800 pound Gorilla — he said no, adding, “I would say it is like a 200 pound chimp.”
And despite the growth of Netflix, Bewkes says HBO continues to thrive. He sees the secret in stemming cord-cutting in giving consumers infinite access to what they’re paying for. The theory: If you can access your HBO shows anywhere, anytime, it’s worth more than ever — but you’re not paying more — so why give that up?
Bewkes is also optimistic about advertising turning around, he says the ad market is picking up across Time Warner’s cable channels and at Turner in particular.
We’ll see if a year from now we’re talking about digital distribution giving a real boost to the company’s bottom line.