Jeff Bewkes CEO of Time Warner used an interview at the Tribeca Film Festival to defend the company’s recent record and say that it was unfairly undervalued compared to its peers.
“I’m going to let you in on a secret, we’re going to do better than everybody thinks we’re going to do, including any financial analysts that happen to be listening to this,” Bewkes said. He said that Time Warner had outperformed other media companies in recent years. “We had 30 plus per cent earnings per share growth the last two years. The rest of the media business in two years went down 20 to 40 per cent. We went up 30 per cent, they went down.”
Time Warner has struggled to shake off the tarnished financial reputation it acquired in blowing $100 billion on the merger with AOL, the self-confessed ‘worst deal ever.’ Now TW has a strong balance sheet that Wall St wants to see it used for acquisitions. Bewkes said any buys were likely to be in emerging markets.
Bewkes also spoke about Netflix, which he has criticised recently, and struck a more conciliatory tone: “I do have a fondness for subscription television, and Netflix is subscription television,” Bewkes said. “So welcome, brother.”
Bewkes also talked about the ‘super premium’ video-on-demand window that is causing anger among cinema owners. He said that films generally only have a three-week theatrical shelf life before the DVD release, which comes months later and that they are particularly vulnerable to piracy in the period between theatrical and DVD release.