Time Warner CEO bullish on growth prospects

'Usage is up,' Jeff Bewkes tells media conference

NEW YORK -- Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes on Tuesday explained in more detail why he is bullish on his conglomerate's growth prospects as a pure content company in the digital age.

Speaking at the Credit Suisse Global Media & Communications Convergence Conference in Palm Beach, Fla., he said digital not only offers better access and offers for consumers, but also attractive economics for media companies that device makers and others can't erode.

Speaking at the Credit Suisse Global Media & Communications Convergence Conference in Palm Beach, Fla., he said digital not only offers better access and offers for consumers, but also attractive economics for media companies. And device makers and others can't erode content economics without the consent of media firms.

No one has the power to force content makers "into a less advantageous business model," he told the conference.

Plus, media consumption is on the rise.

"Usage is up in all our businesses," Bewkes said, citing that TV viewing is up early 10% over the past five years and magazine readership 6%. He didn't say what data he was referring to.

Similarly, while home video revenue was down in 2009, boxoffice and home entertainment transactions were up 4%, Bewkes told the conference in his appearance that was webcast.

He reiterated that TW's blockbuster films and TV hits are benefiting in the digital age. "The biggest hits, the biggest brands are used more than ever," he said. "Big brands help consumers sort through the clutter."

The digital age turns "a big hit into a monstrous hit," he added.

As far as industry economics go, piracy could affect them negatively, Bewkes acknowledged. But a decade after the troubles of the music industry came to the surface, film and TV are "holding up very well," Bewkes said.

His explanation: "plenty of attractive commercial alternatives" that allow consumers to buy or rent DVDs, as well as access films and TV shows via VOD, electronic sell-through and other ways.

Bewkes once again didn't comment on a possible acquisition of MGM in detail beyond saying that TW doesn't need to make any deals and that it will simply buy opportunistically when it can ensure financial returns.
comments powered by Disqus