Warner's Bewkes Shows a Little Faith1 Jun, 2009 By: Thomas K. Arnold
Hell hasn't frozen over, at least not to my knowledge. And yet Jeff Bewkes, the outspoken CEO of Time Warner Inc., has done the unthinkable, the unspeakable, the completely unpredictable: He's actually said some kinds words about home video.
In a talk last Friday at the Sanford Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York, Bewkes said DVD's decline has slowed and the market appears to be stabilizing. He noted that at Warner Home Video, disc sales improved significantly in April. (To read our coverage of the speech, click here).
If Jeff Bewkes has faith in our business, then praise the Lord — it's time for a rebound.
Bewkes, after all, is considered by some in our industry to be one of DVD's biggest detractors. He's frequently said electronic delivery is more profitable for the studios than packaged media, and a year ago he announced Warner movies would be released on video-on-demand the same day they hit DVD.
I've never considered Jeff Bewkes an enemy of DVD. Rather, I've always seen him as a straight shooter, a realist, even. He might not say what we want to hear, or would like to believe, but invariably what he says tends to make sense.
That's why I am so elated that he believes the DVD business is stabilizing. If he says it, it must be so.