UBS Conference: Bewkes Says Digital Should Help Time Warner
CEO Says Over-The-Top Fears Holding Down Stock Price
Mike Reynolds --, 12/6/2010 4:14:02 PM
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said that his company's stock market performance was "a little frustrating" give its superor operating performance.
Speaking at the 38th Annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York, Bewkes laid part of the blame on investor uncertainty over the future of media business models as digital delivery eat away at more distribution systems that have historically been more luctrative.
But Bewkes maintained, that digital delivery was more of an opportunity than a threat to a company specializing in content creation.
"What digital does is allow s to take our networks and our magazines . . . and make them more powerful" he said,
And while investors fret about new low-cost distributors like Netflix or Red Box, Bewkes suggested that the days in which tech get content at low prices while other outlets pay higher prices will come to an end.
"Those won't continue because it's not in the best interest of the value of content," Bewkes said.
On Time Warner's most recent earnings call, Time Warner reported that HBO and Cinemax subscribers had fallen by 1.5 million. But Bewkes said "don't worry about HBO."
He reiterated that the subscriber losses were mainly promotional and that revenue is up.
"There's not a cord-cutting issue. You're not seeing it at HBO and Cinemax," he said.
Bewkes said that HBO's strength will be reinforced by HBO Go, which gives subscribers digital access to HBO movies and series. HBO Go has begun rolling out and should be fully deployed by the end of the first half of 2011.