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Okay, Time Warner: We get it. You think 99-cent rentals via iTunes are a bad idea, so you sat out the introduction of the new Apple TV. But if you think the studio will be changing their tune anytime soon, you may have a long wait ahead of you.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes told the British media this week that “low-cost digital giveaways” are threatening a “second golden age of creativity” in the television business. The executive spoke at the Royal Television Conference in London, where he had some cautionary words about dealing with companies like Apple and Amazon, who Bewkes views as unselling the value of their content.
"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?" Bewkes said.
"These new entrants must meet a few criteria: They must provide consumers with a superior TV experience, and they must either support or improve the overall economics that funds and creates the programming in the first place."
We’re not sure if Bewkes is living in an alternative universe or what, because the TW boss claims that overall the number of television viewers is growing, with paid television and subscription revenues increasing -- this at a time when many disgruntled cable and satellite subscribers finally deciding to cut the cord and take advantage of streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu Plus.
Apparently others agree with Bewkes -- one commenter on The Hollywood Reporter website known as "@3screenplanet" claims that “a 99-cent price point completely devalues premium content and guts the syndication cash cow that makes great shows possible. Just because you own Apple’s stock, don’t kill your business model to help Steve Jobs’ bottom line.”
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter