Time Warner CEO: Tim Cook Is Right, TV Is Broken

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Jeffrey Bewkes

Jeffrey Bewkes called for "more vigorous interfaces" and a world in which consumers don't need to know which shows are on which channels.

In October, Apple CEO Tim Cook called TV a "broken" experience because it is too difficult for viewers to find what they want. On Tuesday, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes agreed with Cook.

"To be able to take all these channels that you've all paid for and use them on all your devices is very difficult, and that is why Tim is right,"  Bewkes told analysts at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York.

Bewkes was adamant about simplifying the on-demand universe and pushing more content into it.

"We shouldn't have to have advanced degrees in order to operate the network or the device that gets you the content," he said.

Bewkes called for "more vigorous interfaces" and a world in which consumers don't need to know which shows are on which channels.

"On-demand is like a volume control. It's not a product offering, it's a feature," he said. "You want to move your volume up or down, and you want to move to the next episode."

The CEO defended licensing content to SVOD services and making it available on his own company's digital products, as to increase TV ratings, not harm them, because "your interest and ability to track a show" increases.

"We're going to do whatever needs to be done" to satisfy consumers who want on-demand content, he said.

Along those lines, he touted HBO Now, a Warner Bros. partnership in China, an Apple-CNN partnership, network standalone offerings in Latin America and more.

"We don't call it 'disruption,' we call it 'opportunity,'" said Bewkes.

He also touted upcoming HBO shows Vinyl, from Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger; Westworld; and Divorce, starring Sarah Jessica Parker.

The CEO also said that reports of a mediocre year for the film studio are overblown, as "Creed is very strong," and he noted what he thinks is an exceptionally strong slate for the next several years, including Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, the first Fantastic Beasts film from J.K. Rowling, The Conjuring 2 and a potential franchise beginning with Knights of the Round Table: King Arthur.

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com

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