Time Warner has been one of the more forward-thinking companies in the cable TV space as far as I'm concerned, at least when talking about streaming video. Now, in a recent financial meeting, the CEO, Jeff Bewkes, seems to have completely embraced streaming video.
When speaking with press and industry analysts he cited the streaming services like Netflix and Amazon as being stabilizing influences on Time Warner. Why? They nabbed a cool $100 million from them in Q3! So all that alleged lost profit from advertising, seems to have been recovered by selling streaming rights and/or splitting advertising money online.
So after all that naysaying, hand-wringing and crying out that 'the end is nigh!' it seems that the streaming services are actually useful.
I hate to tell them 'I told you so,' no wait, I don't hate that. I told you so!
So they made $100 million in that quarter. Now if they were to say, expand their relationships, they might even double or triple that money. That could then start replacing large chunks of their other revenue or even, dare to dream, expand their bottom line! In fact, they've already made over $250 million from the streaming services.
It's more TV content than it is film content that they're licensing. Since the TV model has always included syndication places like Netflix are just another syndication option, except that they don't end up on a regular schedule, just on demand.
It's a pretty big about face for the TW CEO. He was one of the early naysayers, and vocal opponent who didn't believe that there was any future in the likes of those streaming services. Two years and hundreds of millions later? He's suffering from a form of Romnesia it seems. Well, line someone's pockets with gold and they're sure to smile fondly at you I guess.
I think this all goes to the merging of screens. TV and online are no longer at odds with each other. Remember when TV was crying foul and saying all streaming video was bad and was going to kill their business and steal their ads and make them all fold up shop? It seems like the dinosaurs finally looked up and saw the meteor coming this time round, instead of dying off, they evolved into smarter creatures who were able to dodge the cosmic bullet and turn it to their own use and profit. Combine that with the fact that web shows are starting to make the leap to TV and it seems like we will have a single cohesive video entertainment landscape sooner, rather than later (or never like the cable and MSOs were saying back in 2010).
For those of us who are advertising, it could mean a massive rise in opportunities to advertise against brand safe content from major studios. For those of us making content, it could mean more competition for those viewers. That makes it all a double-edged sword in the long run. The only question is, how do we continue to innovate and stay ahead of the curve? I think that's where things like Internet inherent things like interactivity will play a key role to differentiate between the lean forward and lean back viewing experience.