Time Warner Favors Trad TV Over Streaming

Jeff-Bewkes-A2Launching a TV series just on an on-demand digital service? One big media company chief executive believes a TV network is still important when it comes to advertising-promotion and discovery of TV shows.

Speaking at an investor conference, Jeff Bewkes, chairman/chief executive officer of Time Warner, commented about Netflix's recent original "House of Cards" series -- where the entire season was available immediately.

"We don't think it's the best way to launch a series," says Bewkes. He says shows need the "water cooler" effect that comes with a network.

As an example, Bewkes discusses HBO's "Game of Thrones" -- which he says is the most-pirated TV show in the world, something he admitted Time Warner needs to work on. "We have to fix that. [But] we don't want to put it up all at once. We want to have the water cooler effect -- introduce it, and bring people to it."

While commenting about the high quality of Netflix's "House of Cards," Bewkes wonders about promotion and discovery of future TV shows -- especially those that exist only in the on-demand world.

"It's hard if you envision a world five years from now with all on-demand: How are you going to find everything? You have to use your network to launch things in a way people can understand what it is."

Separately, Bewkes says the TV scatter advertising market for its entertainment ad-supported networks -- TNT and TBS -- is seeing single-digit percentage and low double-digit percentage price increases over the upfront prices set last summer. Both TBS and TNT are looking to refresh some of their programming for better ratings, he said.

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2 comments about "Time Warner Favors Trad TV Over Streaming".
  1. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2013ac.com network , March 4, 2013 at 3:14 p.m.
    Why wouldn't the "water cooler effect" work with a streamed series, too? it works with new books, for example, that aren't purchased and read on their first publication date by everyone at exactly the same time. Typically, one or two people read it, mention it, and the audience grows over time. ... Bewkes' seems to have a very out-of-date opinion of that effect, since a very large slice of his audience are time-shift viewers for the most part, except for a few special TV events, such as the Oscars or the Super Bowl.
  2. Stanford Crane from NewGuard Entertainment Corp , March 4, 2013 at 3:58 p.m.
    Let's not forget Jeff works for a publicly traded company. But he's a smart guy, he'll eventually figure it out and not announce it to the world during a conference, lol.