Time Warner's Bewkes Says Company is Working with "Several Distributors" on "TV Everywhere"

--Trial Slated for Second Half of the Year

During Time Warner's Q1 earnings call, Wednesday, the company's chairman and CEO, Jeff Bewkes, provided an update on "TV Everywhere," its initiative to make programming that pay-TV customers have already paid for through their cable, satellite or IPTV subscriptions available to those customers on broadband and mobile platforms. "The idea is simple," Bewkes explained. "If you subscribe to a TV channel at home you can watch it for free on broadband from any provider, wherever and whenever you want, on-demand. With over 90% of US households already paying for television, programmers will be able to give consumers even more for their money," he continued. "There is a tremendous level of interest in TV Everywhere across the industry, and we're working with several distributors on a trial slated for the second half of this year."

Bewkes also pointed out that Time Warner has already developed what he termed an "example" of the TV Everywhere concept for its HBO premium programming brand, in the form of a service called HBO Go (which he showcased at the recent NCTA Cable Show): "HBO Go...is an online extension of the HBO service for HBO subscribers," he explained. "It will use a quick and easy authentication process and offer over 650 hours of programming--that's about three times as much content as is available through HBO On Demand."

Later in the conference call, in answer to a question from Anthony DiClemente of Barclays Capital, Bewkes stated that implementing the TV Everywhere initiative would be "very simple": "You've already got a billing system running efficiently through the current providers of video, which would be cable MSO's, a couple of satellite companies and the telephone companies," he said. "They are currently providing multichannel TV networks to over 90% of American households. So all the billing and all of the authentication is done already: they've all got it, it's pretty simple. Given that we're all talking about letting viewers--90-plus percent of Americans--watch programming they've already paid for, having a check-in software that simply asks "Did a given consumer to pay for this?," by pinging the cable operators, satellite operators and phone operators, is a very simple, instantaneous thing. It's much more simple, for example, than an iTunes billing activation for buying something online or for a Google search algorithm. And the incentive for all of the distributors to join and help this to occur is that it supports all of their video revenue. And so it seems pretty simple. From the networks' point of view, it's also pretty clear that any multichannel network that's got dual revenue streams has clearly got a benefit in making that channel and brand royalty move across any platform or device. Because, if I just speak for our company, it's good for TNT or HBO that if you've got it in your home, you can watch it out of your home and on VOD. And that we can then maintain the subscription payment you're already making and the ad-sales-cross-platform ability, that [inaudible]. So, the system is simple; it's not hard; it doesn't put any blocks for consumers; and it's clearly in the interests of all cable multichannel networks, and all video providers. So it's really, absolutely--there's nobody that it isn't in the interests of really. And the outliers at this point seem to be broadcast networks, which are in a clearly different position and have different problems."

Region: 
North America