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TWC Eyeing Internet for Enhanced Pay-TV Consumption

9 Dec, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus

CEO Rob Marcus open to including Netflix in cable set-top box

While awaiting regulatory approval of Charter Communications’ acquisition of Time Warner Cable, Rob Marcus, CEO of TWC, reiterated that the cabler’s future is predicated upon delivering video content into subscriber homes via their own streaming media device.

Speaking Dec. 8 at UBS’s 43rd Global Media and Communications Conference in New York, Marcus said delivering the traditional pay-TV experience to subscribers without the need for set-top boxes and related service calls would significantly lower costs.

“I think this is where video is going,” he said. “That’s the path we’re pushing down.”

At the same time, Marcus said TWC has no interest launching a so-called a skinny channel bundle made popular by Sling TV and Charter’s Spectrum TV Stream. These $20 monthly platforms offer 20 pay-TV channels, including ESPN, HBO and Showtime. The executive said the idea of aggregating or selling other people’s infrastructure doesn’t sound appealing.

“I’ve always been a believer that our competitive advantage comes from our physical infrastructure. We don’t have any plans to go [skinny],” Marcus said.

Indeed, the CEO said TWC is having its best video subscriber year in a decade, with 82% of video connects in the previous quarter choosing the traditional fat bundle.

“There’s undoubtedly some cord-cutting going on, but we feel we can continue to do well in the video space even with that element,” Marcus said.

Finally, TWC (along with Dish Network) remains bullish on Netflix. It plans to include direct access to the subscription streaming pioneer in set-top boxes — a move heretofore eschewed by a pay-TV industry that considers Netflix competition.

“We’re completely open to adding Netflix to the set-top box. Maybe we’re out ahead of some of our peers in that respect,” Marcus said.

“To the extent we can deliver an experience where customers get to enjoy not only [our] video product, but also Netflix, that’s great for them and ultimately good for us.”


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