Time Warner CEO warns against 99-cent TV show rental deals with Apple

“Time Warner boss Jeff Bewkes told British media execs that television is entering a second golden age of creativity and reward but warned against the danger of low-cost digital giveaways,” Mimi Turner reports for The Hollywood Reporter.

MacDailyNews Note: As Time Warner CEO, Bewkes oversees Time Inc., HBO, Turner Broadcasting (which includes CNN, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network), Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema.

Turner reports, “Speaking at the Royal Television Conference in London, Bewkes cautioned against deals with the likes of Apple and Amazon that undersold the value of blue-chip TV fare. ‘How can you justify renting your first-run TV shows individually for 99 cents an episode and thereby jeopardize the sale of the same shows as a series to branded networks that pay hundreds of millions of dollars and make those shows available to loyal viewers for free?’ he said.”

“Bewkes told the audience that, overall, the number of television viewers is growing, paid-television penetration is increasing and advertising and subscription revenues are headed north,” Turner reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: How you get to be a CEO and not be able to do the math – very basic math – is beyond us.

44 Comments

  1. Dear TW and other content creators,

    I spent over $700 on iTunes TV shows in the last year. Though that may sound like a lot it’s actually cheaper for me than finding the shows we watch ‘for free’ over P2P networks. I don’t have cable TV, or can’t watch OTA. (Can’t get stations here at the beach and can’t stomach commercials)

    I did so for a number of reasons: 1 – I hate commercial interruptions and will pay to not watch them, 2 – I want the content creators to know there is a market for their shows as downloads and wanted to ‘support’ the shows my family likes so they don’t get canceled (Firefly would still be around if iTunes was available for it at the time), and 3 – I wanted to support iTunes as a delivery method so they could eventually get the TV Show rental thing worked out.

    This season, I will only purchase TV Shows via iTunes that I can rent. I will no longer spend more than needed to purchase shows I will only ever watch once. (I can always rent or buy DVD if I want to watch them again in a few years) So far this season, that means only three shows, compared to almost 15 last season. The rest I’m getting through p2p until the rest of you wake the frack up.

    Since I’m firing back up my P2P software to get most of my TV Shows I could just as easily get the other three shows I’m renting via iTunes. But I’m not for two reasons: 1 – The shows are higher quality when rented via iTunes, and to support this new system so all the content creators get on board.

    So, it’s either renting a show via iTunes where you get much more from me than my ‘eyes’ are worth OR you get nothing. The choice is yours.

    Thank you

  2. Dear TW and other content creators,

    I spent over $700 on iTunes TV shows in the last year. Though that may sound like a lot it’s actually cheaper for me than finding the shows we watch ‘for free’ over P2P networks. I don’t have cable TV, or can’t watch OTA. (Can’t get stations here at the beach and can’t stomach commercials)

    I did so for a number of reasons: 1 – I hate commercial interruptions and will pay to not watch them, 2 – I want the content creators to know there is a market for their shows as downloads and wanted to ‘support’ the shows my family likes so they don’t get canceled (Firefly would still be around if iTunes was available for it at the time), and 3 – I wanted to support iTunes as a delivery method so they could eventually get the TV Show rental thing worked out.

    This season, I will only purchase TV Shows via iTunes that I can rent. I will no longer spend more than needed to purchase shows I will only ever watch once. (I can always rent or buy DVD if I want to watch them again in a few years) So far this season, that means only three shows, compared to almost 15 last season. The rest I’m getting through p2p until the rest of you wake the frack up.

    Since I’m firing back up my P2P software to get most of my TV Shows I could just as easily get the other three shows I’m renting via iTunes. But I’m not for two reasons: 1 – The shows are higher quality when rented via iTunes, and to support this new system so all the content creators get on board.

    So, it’s either renting a show via iTunes where you get much more from me than my ‘eyes’ are worth OR you get nothing. The choice is yours.

    Thank you

  3. SB Surfer,

    I’m hoping you sent your letter to NBC/Uni, CBS, Viacom and TW.

    Not that it would help much… These TV networks are still convinced that the number of those who do what you do (buy/rent broadcast TV programming online) is negligible, and their growth rate is minimal. They still believe that the ‘golden age’ of TV is still ahead, with advertising rates ‘heading north’ syndication sales continuing robustly, and ho reason to think about downloads.

    Their head is in the sand, but they don’t know it, and letters like yours will be ignored. Our hope is that in a year’s time, ABC and FOX end up significantly outpacing the others, specifically on the account of iTunes and the rental model.

  4. SB Surfer,

    I’m hoping you sent your letter to NBC/Uni, CBS, Viacom and TW.

    Not that it would help much… These TV networks are still convinced that the number of those who do what you do (buy/rent broadcast TV programming online) is negligible, and their growth rate is minimal. They still believe that the ‘golden age’ of TV is still ahead, with advertising rates ‘heading north’ syndication sales continuing robustly, and ho reason to think about downloads.

    Their head is in the sand, but they don’t know it, and letters like yours will be ignored. Our hope is that in a year’s time, ABC and FOX end up significantly outpacing the others, specifically on the account of iTunes and the rental model.

  5. “branded networks that make shows available to loyal subscribers for free”

    Horsepucky. First, they charge the Loyal Subscribers $500-$1500 per year to get the few shows they want bundled with loads of useless drek. Then, they sell the Loyal Subscriber’s eyeballs/brainspace to whoever will pay the most for the chance to brainwash the Loyal Subscriber into believing the Loyal Subscriber needs more useless drek like Flowbees, unhealthy food, a car-based lifestyle, and further expensive subscriptions to more useless drek entertainment that the Loyal Subscriber may or may not actually watch or enjoy.

    Advertising is slavery. A la carte is emancipation. Apple is Lincoln. The South will lose, but not before their obstinate greed kills millions.

  6. “branded networks that make shows available to loyal subscribers for free”

    Horsepucky. First, they charge the Loyal Subscribers $500-$1500 per year to get the few shows they want bundled with loads of useless drek. Then, they sell the Loyal Subscriber’s eyeballs/brainspace to whoever will pay the most for the chance to brainwash the Loyal Subscriber into believing the Loyal Subscriber needs more useless drek like Flowbees, unhealthy food, a car-based lifestyle, and further expensive subscriptions to more useless drek entertainment that the Loyal Subscriber may or may not actually watch or enjoy.

    Advertising is slavery. A la carte is emancipation. Apple is Lincoln. The South will lose, but not before their obstinate greed kills millions.

  7. This is the level of corporate executive incompetence that wonders why there is no fast global economic recovery…or what caused it in fact…you can’t bleed the consumer for ever, value is now consumer driven and key.

    Hey morons, wake up and smell the coffee, only those that know how to change on a dime will survive in the digital economy.

    Before you know it you will be gone, Apple will find an alternative way and so will innovators, screaming moronic comercials every two minutes have outlived themselves….

  8. This is the level of corporate executive incompetence that wonders why there is no fast global economic recovery…or what caused it in fact…you can’t bleed the consumer for ever, value is now consumer driven and key.

    Hey morons, wake up and smell the coffee, only those that know how to change on a dime will survive in the digital economy.

    Before you know it you will be gone, Apple will find an alternative way and so will innovators, screaming moronic comercials every two minutes have outlived themselves….

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