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Bewkes: Discs Improve on High-Def and 3D

2 May, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Jeff Bewkes

Time Warner Inc. CEO Jeff Bewkes remains bullish on physical media, notably Blu-ray Disc and 3D movies, despite also being a long-time cheerleader for lower-cost digital distribution such as video-on-demand.

Time Warner owns Warner Home Video, among other studio properties.

Speaking April 26 at a business discussion during the Tribeca Film Festival in New York (video link on a post by BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield), Bewkes said Blu-ray and 3D continue to be the best formats to see movies in optimum picture and sound quality, in addition to accessing special features such as director’s commentary and behind-the scenes footage.

“DVDs will get better and better because they will have high-def … and all the extra stuff, if you want,” Bewkes said.

The CEO said special features could be made available digitally, but not in 3D or true 1080p resolution currently found only on Blu-ray.

“There’s no reason why you can’t take anything that’s on a DVD and deliver it electronically either to a set-top box or over a cable or telephone system, or whatever connected Internet device you have,” he said.

Analyst Greenfield disagreed with Bewkes’ contention that packaged media remains on solid ground in a rapidly evolving digital world.

“We are far more skeptical with DVD sales continuing to fall and our belief that consumers are increasingly uninterested in owning content, especially as we transition to a digital world (where renting is so easy, and you have tons of content available on demand and far more discoverable than ever before as part of services … such as HBO and Netflix),” Greenfield wrote.

Meanwhile, in a question-and-answer session, Bewkes downplayed the role the adult industry has played as catalyst for technological advancements in home entertainment — except possibly high-definition.

“3D in adult is worth thinking about,” Bewkes joked.

Time Warner reports first-quarter results May 4.

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