Time Warner's Jeff Bewkes Defends Cable Bundle

Jeff Bewkes
Jeff Bewkes
 

Jeff Bewkes defended the cable bundle Wednesday, saying it has "held up fantastically" and that consumers appreciate the system more than they even admit because of the diversity of programming it affords.

"There is no more healthy thing," the Time Warner CEO said about the improvements in the quality of programming that he said could be traced back to bundling. People pay more for their coffee at Starbucks each month than they do for great television, he said.

He said even the wages of actors and the other artists involved with making TV shows are benefiting in part because of the cable and satellite TV system of bundling channels for a single price.

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Bewkes also vowed to focus more of Time Warner's energy and assets on creating television shows.

"This is the best season we ever had," Bewkes said about his company's TV unit during a presentation at the Goldman Sachs 22nd annual Communacopia Conference in New York.

The CEO also promised "very good earnings" over the next two years, in part because of improving results overseas and in part because a new J.K. Rowling movie franchise is in the works, which should partially make up for the fact that the Harry Potter franchise has ended.

Bewkes also alluded to new digital initiatives and reminded attendees that Time Warner has been a technological innovator with HBO Go and various other products.

He defended pricey deals struck by TBS to pick up off-network syndication rights to popular programs, in part because the cash flow from repeats of hit shows leads to the creation of successful original shows. He made the point that 60 percent of the viewers of The Big Bang Theory are watching the shows for the first time, even though they are repeats from years earlier on CBS.

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