Advanced Television

TW’s Bewkes: ‘UltraViolet gaining momentum’

February 7, 2013

By Colin Mann

bewkesDigital content ecosystem UltraViolet is gaining momentum and is set to roll out in further European countries in 2013, according to Jeff Bewkes, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Time Warner. Bewkes’ comments came during an analyst conference call to discuss the company’s Q4 2012 results, where he also reported progress on other digital initiatives..

“At Warner’s, as you know, we’re spearheading a number of initiatives to improve the consumer proposition of buying and owning digital movies,” he told analysts, according to a transcript of the call prepared by Seeking Alpha. “UltraViolet has only been in the market for a short time, but it’s gaining momentum. UV is now supported by almost every major studio. Over 8,500 titles are available in the UV format, and it has more than 9 million registered users. In 2013, we expect to see a lot more retailers coming on board. Flixster and the other providers are also launching in-home disc-to-digital services that allow consumers to unlock the digital rights to their physical DVDs right from their home computers. With UV already available in the US, Canada and the UK, this year, we also plan to roll it out in Australia, France, Germany, Ireland and New Zealand.”

He also noted TW’s success in monetising its content via new revenue streams, licensing Turner content to SVoD providers. “In the last few months, Turner and Warner Bros. together announced deals with both Amazon and Netflix, licensing serialised shows such as Dallas and Falling Skies, along with animated series from both Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. This emerging back end for cable originals is a very promising sign since it should result in production values for cable originals getting even better over time,” he advised.

He reported that besides the deals that Warner Bros. and Turner struck with Amazon and Netflix, in recent months, Warner’s also cut a comprehensive slate deal with Netflix for new serialised shows in the US, as well as a series of agreements internationally, including Canada, Latin America, the U.K. and Ireland and the Nordic region. “These deals boost our confidence that we’ll be seeing strong SVoD revenues again in 2013 and beyond,” he said.

He admitted that adoption of TV Everywhere had not progressed at the consumer level as fast as TW would have liked. “However, with growing availability of authenticated content for many of our cable programming peers slated for 2013 to finally joining us, we expect much greater consumer awareness and usage starting this year,” he advised.

“And HBO, HBO GO and MAX GO are now available to essentially our entire domestic subscriber base, and they’re available across a wide variety of devices and platforms, including iOS, Android, Kindle and Xbox. As we’ve discussed with you before, we’ve seen very healthy usage, and consumer satisfaction is through the roof. Gross subs said they are more loyal to HBO and they’re watching more HBO, and monthly usage per user climbed 80 per cent between the end of 2011 and 2012.” TW was also rolling out HBO GO as an authenticated product where it had linear networks internationally, too. “It’s now available in 10 countries in Central and Northern Europe and 8 countries in Latin America. This year, we’ll start to launch in Asia,” he revealed.

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