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Jeff Bewkes

Here’s What Will Make The Apple TV Different

Apple CEO Tim Cook is interviewed by NBC News anchor Brian Williams tonight, and in a preview clip, he hints that Apple has something brewing in the TV space.

“When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook told Williams. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”

As it happens, on Tuesday of this week, Les Moonves, the CEO of CBS, said that he met with Cook a few weeks ago, though he wouldn’t say about what. Last week, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes insinuated that he also met with Cook recently. Apple is clearly working on a TV product, but given the current state of TV sets and cable boxes, what would make it different?

The two keys are software and content.

An Apple TV set will undoubtedly feature the software that the Apple TV product currently has. It makes it easy to watch videos from Netflix and iTunes on your existing TV set. That said, at this moment in time, Apple needs to give customers access to the shows that want to watch in order to have a succesful product, that is the content side of the equation.

There are two ways to do this: partner with a cable or satellite company, or partner with the content companies themselves.

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Time Inc. Prepares To Get Serious About Online Video

cybrian shutterstock

It looks like Time Inc. Is preparing to get a lot more serious about online video. Last week they announced the launch of a new digital video unit. The new unit will help the company tap into the lucrative online video market, and the revenue that goes along with that, as more and more video advertisers are looking to invest their ad budget in the online space.

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Zucker on TV on the Web: 'Can we go back to the Keith Olbermann question?'

When outgoing NBCU chief Jeff Zucker was asked about the controversial moves his, and other networks have made the last few years of putting TV programming on the Web, therefore potentially hurting the syndication market, Zucker joked, “Can we go back to the Keith Olbermann question?”

Speaking before a roomful of program buyers, sellers and producers at the annual NATPE gathering in Miami Beach, Zucker stood up for NBCU’s partnership in video platform Hulu. “I’m incredibly proud of what Hulu has done,” said Zucker. (With Comcast gaining majority control of NBCU this Friday, the company’s management stake in Hulu will go away.)

As for the Olbermann joke, Zucker was referencing the first question he’d gotten during the Q&A about the MSNBC host’s abrupt departure from the network Friday night — a question he could not comment on.

“Online is still a better experience for us than the DVR. We can control the ad inventory and the ad load,” said Zucker. “The consumer has made it clear that they want to enjoy it this way. If we don’t listen to the consumer, piracy will take over as we saw happen in the music industry.”

Zucker also reiterated his support of the TV Everywhere concept, a favorite of Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes. And he predicted mobile will be the go-to place for growth in program viewing the near term.

Time Warner May Bundle Digital And Print Mag Subscriptions


According to the Wall Street Journal, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes is considering merging print and digital titles of its magazines.

His idea is to let print subscribers bundle their subscriptions with their digital reader versions. From the WSJ: “…he wants to make tablet-computer subscriptions for the company’s magazines available to people who already subscribe to the dead-tree versions of the company’s titles, which include Time, People, Sports Illustrated and Real Simple.”

This is a very smart way to get people to try their favorite magazines on a digital reader, without having the give up the print versions that they might be very happy with.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes: HBO On Demand Coming to 'All Broadband Devices'

HBOGo080510.bmpOn Time Warner’s second quarter earnings call today, CEO Jeff Bewkes says that HBO content would be available on-demand on “all broadband devices” soon, likely within the next year.

What does Bewkes mean by “all broadband devices?” That is unclear, but a safe bet would be a dedicated application on mobile devices like the Apple iPhone and iPad.

And when he refers to HBO on demand content, he is likely referring to HBO Go, the pay cable network’s “TV Everywhere” authentication effort. The service is currently available to existing HBO subscribers for use on their PCS and laptops.

Beyond expanding the service to new platforms, Bewkes was asked whether the service would be extended to new subscribers. In other words, if HBO would make HBO Go available to people that do not subscribe to the network through their MSO.

Bewkes shot the idea down, but left the door open for such a move in the future:

“At the present time what we are doing is basically launching HBO Go to our subscriber base,” he said. “There are 30 million subs that deserve to get HBO on every platform, including broadband. The question of whether we should then in the future offer a subscription separately from that is not something we would do now, but of course we could do it if and when it becomes reasonable.”

Cable Bosses Talk ‘TV Everywhere’ At Cable Show

Heavy hitters from the television world, including Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and CBS CEO Leslie Moonves talked “TV Everywhere” during a panel discussion at the 2010 Cable Show in Los Angeles.

Broadcasting & Cable‘s Marisa Guthrie writes that attendees “must have felt a sinking sense of deja vu” at the panel, with attendees largely retreading old arguments.

Still, there were some high points, most notably a demonstration of Comcast’s upcoming “Xfinity Remote” iPad app, which will let users search television content and set their DVR through the device.

Gizmodo has video of the app in action. Check it out.

Related: Time Warner Chairman Jeff Bewkes on CNBC

Time Warner CEO: AOL Still Up for Grabs


In today’s Will-It-Ever-End department, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said the company is still working hard on a possible deal involving AOL, and hopes to come to some kind of agreement “fairly soon,” according to MediaPost.

AOL has struggled in fourth place after Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft in the portal wars; the company never really found its footing as an online portal, after demand dropped drastically for its core dial-up Internet service.

The report said that with the full spinoff of Time Warner’s cable unit on track to close by early next year, Bewkes emphasized that the firm would “return to its roots as a branded content company.”

Yahoo Clears Path to AOL Talks


The Financial Times is reporting that Yahoo’s new board on Tuesday cleared the way for new discussions with Time Warner over its troubled AOL unit, which could revive negotiations for some kind of combination of the two portals that ground to a halt earlier this year.

“According to one person familiar with the company’s thinking, the Yahoo board approved a new round of discussions with AOL, though active deal negotiations are not underway at this stage.”

The report said that Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes hoped to reach a decision on AOL’s future “fairly soon,” though he did not lay out a definitive timetable. This move would clear the way for uninhibited merger and acquisition talks, and would represent another prong of Yahoo’s multi-faceted, still-emerging plan to prove it can survive without Microsoft.

(Image credit: Reuters)

Time Warner CEO: AOL Decision “Soon”

Time_Warner_CEO_SAI.jpgWell, that certainly sounds ominous. At Goldman Sach’s recent media conference—which we resume must have had an interesting atmosphere given the meltdown on Wall Street—Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes indicated that while planning to dump AOL wasn’t something he was prepared to just come right out and say, they’re certainly thinking about it, Silicon Alley Insider reports.

“It’s pretty clear from the ruminations [in the aftermath of] Microsoft and Yahoo and Google, that everybody is looking hard at what scale… everyone’s involved in discussions to see if there’s an advantage to combinations. If such a thing could benefit the performance of AOL, we would consider it.”

He stuck with the word “combinations” through the rest of the talk, instead of saying “sale,” as the article pointed out. Must be the new “right-sizing.”

Liberty Media Interested in AOL Dial-Up Deal

Reuters is reporting that Liberty Media is interested in discussing a deal to swap Time Warner stock for AOL’s dial-up Internet business, Liberty chairman John Malone said on Monday. This would put Liberty in contention with Earthlink, who is also looking to dial up a deal with AOL for the same division.

“Clearly an exit from the Time Warner equity state into a cash-generating asset would be attractive, but at the current time, none have been proposed that we could take action on,” Malone said in a conference call with reporters. “But we would continue to try and maintain the relationship with [CEO Jeff Bewkes] and the Time Warner folks in the event that such a transaction would present itself.”