TV Everywhere’s high priest Bewkes keeps preaching
One day soon you’ll be able to watch your TV everywhere: online, on-the-go, your phones, just about everywhere and Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes wants you to know about it and believe it.
Bewkes, perhaps relieved to talk about something other than how best to get rid of AOL , took the opportunity on Time Warner’s first quarter earnings call to share more of his vision for how he plans to free your favorite TV shows from the shackles of the cathode ray tube box (yes, some of us still own those).
The way Bewkes sees it if you’re already subscribing to a TV channel at home, you should be able to watch it for free on broadband from any provider, wherever and whenever you want.
As he told analysts on Wednesday:
Over 90% of U.S. households already paying for television, programmers will be able to give consumers even more for their money. There’s 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 this year.
But Bewkes was light on the details, such as how you overcome the technical challenge of “authenticating” subscribers’ access to programming when they might take video from one company; Internet from another and wireless connection from a third provider. Bewkes told analysts:
It seems pretty simple from the network’s point of view, it’s also pretty clear any channel network that’s got dual revenue streams has clearly got a benefit in making that channel and brand loyalty 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 (video on demand), and that we can then maintain the subscription payment you’re already making and the ad sales cross platform ability that’s in the media.
What seems to be simple is the principle, say most analysts, but execution may be another thing. Sanford Bernstein Michael Nathanson thinks Bewkes is probably looking at the bigger picture. Sometimes saying the right things can almost be as important as execution, said Nathanson.
I think what Time Warner is talking about in trying to examine what these digital models are and trying to ensure there is no value destruction is the right thing. Even if it doesn’t amount to anything I still think there’s value in trying to educate the market and some of its competitors about they should approach it.