Time Warner's Bewkes "Netflix Is Our Friend"
While only a year ago Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes was saying that Netflix was "like the Albanian army [trying] to take over the world" and predicting that the world -- meaning media conglomerates like his -- was bound to win. The company's Warner Bros. unit has imposed a 28-day delay on the release of DVDs to the online rental service. And its HBO unit has developed its own video-on-demand service, HBO Go, that resembles Netflix's model. However, on Tuesday, Bewkes indicated that he sees ways in which Time Warner and Netflix can work together, particularly in the case of serialized TV shows and "obscure" movies that cable networks traditionally reject. He noted that those networks don't like to run serials because audience members often are dial-turners who land on them and can't figure out the plot. Netflix subscribers, on the other hand, often run several episodes at once and therefore have no such concerns. "Netflix is our friend," Bewkes said. "We're partners. We sell them programming." That it is programming that no one else wants was beside the point, he suggested. With Netflix and other video services, Time Warner is now able to monetize movies and TV shows that would otherwise have lain dormant in its vaults.