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Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes 'Supportive' of OTT Video Services

30 May, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes

When The Walt Disney Co. and Dish Network recently re-upped their retransmission agreement, notable to the deal was the prospect of future joint over-the-top branded video services — a first between a major media company and multichannel video program distributor.

Speaking May 30 at the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions confab in New York, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said he is supportive of such arrangements since they are targeted toward a younger demographic living in a single-person household with a lone broadband connection.

Bewkes said he believes the proposed Dish/Disney video services would pursue about 2 million to 5 million subscribers with a restricted content offering.

He said Time Warner has also talked to Dish about such services, conveying the “constructive” notion such OTT platforms could have on a select market segment. At the same time, Time Warner remains adamant OTT video not undermine the majority bundled channel household market.

The latter is key to Bewkes, who has a long history of questioning the viability of subscription streaming — notably Netflix — and its cannibalization impact on traditional distribution channels. Only in recent years as SVOD proves to be a marketing tool of sorts to broadcast and pay-TV, has Bewkes become more accepting of OTT.

Indeed, Time Warner in 2014 will generate upwards of $400 million in incremental revenue licensing TV programming and movies to SVOD services.

“[OTT video] seems like promising experiment in market segmentation,” he said.


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