Time Warner's Bewkes still finds pay TV attractive

Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) Chairman Jeff Bewkes is bullish on pay TV, despite rising costs for programming and the growth of competitive online video.

Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom conference, Bewkes, in comments covered by Multichannel News, said pay TV is not suffering from cord-cutters and that the multichannel bundle is a "better deal" both in his opinion and that of consumers. Cord cutting, he said, isn't being driven by higher prices that likely will eventually impact over-the-top providers anyway.

"If the price is too high you would expect to see people revolting in some way; you would expect them to be cutting their packages," Bewkes said. "And yet, if you look at the low-priced offerings that Dish [Network] (Nasdaq: DISH) offers, that Time Warner [Cable] (NYSE: TWC) Essentials [offers]--these are all economy packages--nobody buys them."

The Time Warner chairman made it clear that he's not dismissing online video players--especially ones like Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) that are now developing their own original content--but that this is an expensive proposition and one they probably can't maintain.

"They can't afford to buy all the major live programming or syndicated non-serialized series that are going to NBC, CBS, TNT and so forth; the programming budgets for those guys are massively larger than the SVOD guys," he said in the MCN story.

And, if it came to that, he could see Time Warner selling its wares to the online video purveyors.

"We all have to look at these new distribution methods as whether they're viable; whether they offer consumers a better experience at a lower price, whatever it would be to make them viable," he said. "No one's come along with that yet. We will look at it. It would have to be accretive and once we figure out all the ramifications. But nobody's done it yet."

For more:
Multichannel News had this story

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