Jeff Bewkes Talks HBO, Comcast-Time Warner Deal
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes says his priorities for the media conglomerate are increasing its commitment to high-quality content, improving technology and strengthening its international business.
Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom Conference in Palm Beach, Fla., Bewkes noted that "Time Warner is a very different company than it was five years ago. At that time it was pretty widely diversified. Now we're a fairly concentrated video content company."
He added, "We’re basically feeling very alive very excited and very focused on what we think is the television revolution."
Leading the way for Time Warner, said Bewkes, is HBO. When asked what television would look like in five years, he commented that "you're about to see the full fruition of what got started at HBO 15 years ago." By that he meant the proliferation of video on demand.
He was bullish on the state of the television industry as a whole, adding that "the quality and diversity of programming is greater than it’s ever been. So what that means for us is it means consumers are going to be evermore engaged with their favorite television program."
Bewkes took time to praise several of the Turner networks. He noted that TBS was the No. 1 network in the 18-34 and 18-54 demographics in primetime. Adult Swim, meanwhile, ranks No. 2 in the 18-34 demo.
"That's a very strong creative platform for us to attract talent and incubate new ideas," he said of the network, which shares a channel with Cartoon Network.
Bewkes also addressed the proposed Time Warner Cable and Comcast deal. He said there's some concern about competition but noted that it will likely work itself out. He also joked, "It would be good if the Time Warner Cable trucks didn't say Time Warner because people are calling me."
When asked about the importance of Turner's NBA deal, which is set to expire in two years, Bewkes allayed concerns that the company would lose the partnership.
"This is very important and good programming we think our performance with NBA has been terrific," he said. "We think it’s important and we feel we have the resources to continue with that and we think we’ll have it. We still have it for a couple more years... We’re very interested in it."