Time Warner CFO: Distributors Need to Improve VOD Offerings

Courtesy of Time, Inc.
Howard Averill

"Full-season stacking should become the norm," said CFO Howard Averill.

The cable bundle of networks will shrink and distributors need to improve their offerings, including more robust VOD, more content for digital platforms and better user interfaces, said Time Warner CFO Howard Averill on Thursday. 

Such improvements, he said, will keep consumers hooked on the traditional cable bundle and discourage them from cutting the cord, one of the biggest worries on Wall Street.

"People are not looking for a reason to cut their pay TV package," he said at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2015 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills.

Earlier at the same event, Walt Disney COO Tom Staggs also defended the cable bundle.

Averill said that, from the perspective of Warner Bros., lots more TV content, excluding the newest episodes, should be made available for digital, on-demand viewing.

"Full-season stacking should become the norm," he said.

He said HBO is growing subscribers both on linear and digital platforms while CNN and Cartoon Network are seeing ratings growth.

The ad market has improved in the third quarter, but the CFO says foreign exchange has worsened and will continue to be a drag on the bottom line next year.

As for film, Averill acknowledged that "it wasn't a big year for us" but that he has "an enormous amount of confidence" going forward, given Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes out next year and Wonder Woman the year after that. 

It's not all about superheroes, though, as Averill noted the potential of more Lego movies and more films based on the works of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

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