Time Warner (TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes Interview

Time Warner (TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes on what he views is the biggest threat to paid TV right now

“There’s a question of whether programming is being devalued. What is the economic sustainability of something that uses a lot of bandwidth and doesn’t pay for it and that runs a lot of expensive programming and essentially doesn’t have a profit? Think of Amazon or Netflix. The usual reason companies are funded or valued on the stock market for not having a current profit is because the investors believe there will be a future profit. That means they believe the market leadership position is going to turn into something that is unassailable enough—in other words, that does not have enough effective competition—that it can either cut costs or drive revenue and make a profit.”

Time Warner (TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes on how he views Netflix competing with HBO

“I think the question is: How has the strategy of HBO created the strategy of Netflix? HBO is the original subscription video-on-demand company. We were repurposing first-run movies, and then we added original programming. We had a colleague in the industry, [Netflix Chief Executive Officer] Reed Hastings, who decided to do the same thing and put it over broadband. Since they’re on broadband, they can do it according to net neutrality without paying for the usage. And because broadband allows for two-way interactivity, you can get data on what people are watching and start a conversation. If you watched this, you might like that. That’s a great innovation. That’s exactly the kind of thing where you could take not just Netflix but all of Silicon Valley and harness those abilities to do global, at scale, distribution. That’s a tremendous boon to an industry producing more and more programming. If you don’t have a way to search and have recommendations based on other things you’ve watched, you couldn’t figure out what the hell to look at, because there’s too much! I think it’s going to reinvigorate the television industry.”

On what the cable-TV bundle will look like in 10 years

“There will still be the cable bundle we know now, which is the full monty with hundreds of channels, live news, sports, niche, etc. You’ll see for that big bundle and for the more focused bundles—whether it’s what interests you have or what price point you want to pay—you’re going to see the core channels represented across all of them, and you’re going to see full video on-demand and very good search recommendation and navigation engines, so consumers know what the programming is and where to find it.”

On the escalating costs of sports programming

“The cost of sports rights will continue to increase. The question is whether they increase at the same rate. They were increasing 15 to 20 percent in the last eight or nine years. Football has been the mainstay. That’s where a lot of the money is, and it mostly goes to the four big broadcast networks. The one that’s growing fastest globally and in the U.S. and in the young demographic is basketball, which is why we picked the championship pieces of the NBA and NCAA. Those were serious investments, but our affiliate revenue growth in relation to those sports costs is very positive, so it’s an increasing margin.”

On whether he would sell the company 

“It’s not up to me. The obligation of every ethical management is to make sure we optimize the long-term value of the company. We’re growing the company. We’ve grown the company at 25 percent a year in earnings for the last eight years. That’s a lot higher growth than the S&P. We’re essentially outperforming every other media company with the exception of CBS. When people talk about potential suitors showing up, that’s because there’s not a Sumner Redstone or Rupert Murdoch or [Comcast CEO] Brian Roberts who own the blocking shares. That’s why they talk about it. It’s not because there’s a performance issue. If somebody offers something to our shareholders that’s better than our earnings track, obviously we would try to consider what’s best for our shareholders. We’re a pretty big company. It’s expensive. I don’t anticipate being interrupted.”

 

 

 

Source: Bloomberg Interview http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-02/jeff-bewkes-thinks-cable-s-future-is-fine

Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger Interview

Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger on how he effectively runs different movie studios such as Pixas, Lucasfilm, & Marvel

“The essence of what they do is they are extreme insiders at how they manage, how they care for, where their passions lie for their own storytelling, their own brands and the meaning of Star Wars and Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar, Disney Animation. No one knows and has more passion about those stories and storytelling and those brands than they do. And that contributes greatly to their successes. What I’ve really tried to do is to not disrupt that.”

Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger on the unique culture of Pixar

“I spent a full day at Pixar thanks to Steve Jobs and John Lasseter and Ed Catmull when I had broached to Steve the idea of buying Pixar. We began a conversation and I said, “I need to spend a day there. I need to go into the tent for a day.” And he said, “Absolutely.” I went completely alone. I didn’t have a piece of paper and a pen. I had nothing to take notes on. I met every director; they each pitched me seven or eight films. I met everyone. And my takeaway was that there was a culture there that was extraordinary. And that the worst thing that we could do as a company would be to destroy or damage it in any way. When we valued Pixar, everybody said we spent too much for those assets, but a large chunk of what we were valuing was what would happen if we could actually infuse in Disney Animation a culture that wouldn’t be exactly like Pixar but borrowed elements from it and ultimately turn the fortunes of Disney Animation around. Here we are in 2016, we look at Zootopia, which [grossed] a billion dollars coming off of Big Hero 6 and Frozen and Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph. It’s all rooted in the knowledge that Ed and John, the so-called outsiders to Disney but insiders to Pixar, brought to the table. Usually it’s the opposite: You buy a company and basically destroy the company.”

Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger on the challenges in the ESPN subsidiary and expanding its distribution

“Well, first of all, when people say “fix,” that usually suggests something is really broken, and it’s not. ESPN is not broken at all. ESPN, like a lot of other media entities, is facing challenges that they haven’t faced before that are due to some very obvious circumstances, which is technology’s effect on media both on the creative side, the distribution side and the consumption side. There’s more competition, the [power] shift from the distributor and the creator to the consumer is pretty apparent. And it’s critical to be as present as possible on all platforms, which ESPN is — but also to monetize them in as effective a way as possible. So what ESPN is exploring, they’re creating more product that can be sold directly to the consumer, while at the same time doing what they can to make the product they sell to the distributors as vital as possible. In terms of timeline, I can only tell you there’s a significant amount of work going on as we speak to move more ESPN product onto new platforms as fast as possible.”

Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger on whether he sees a correction coming to sports-rights TV deals

“There isn’t one in sight.  I last saw Twitter bought some [NFL] rights. Yahoo is bidding on rights. Who knows what Verizon will do. I don’t see one in sight.”

Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger said you need to focus on your own business

“I won’t speak for the entertainment industry. I speak for Disney. I’ve seen people in the industry come to work every morning paranoid about what the other person or other company is doing. That means you’re spending time and focus on somebody else’s business instead of your own.”

 

 

 

 

Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/bob-iger-interview-star-wars-905320

Time Warner (TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes

Time Warner (TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes explained why his company doesn’t need to do a merger or acquisition in order to compete in today’s evolving media landscape

“After all the failures of Time Warner 10 years ago and 20 years ago, HBO, Turner, and Warner Bros finally have the experience and shared interest to help each other succeed.  We have the brands, we have the money, we have the distribution platform support, and we have the program supply. We have better access to movies and TV shows than any other company probably other than Disney. We can use our scale together, or not, and that balance is one of the biggest advantages of our company.”

Time Warner (TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes on why traditional cable providers were too slow to understand the transition to over the top video

“They bungled it.  By and large, the incumbent distribution system was too slow to give the consumers what had already been invented. They had the programming; they could have offered it in an effective way to consumers who would have watched. Instead, MVPDs let consumers go to alternatives for the very same programming they already had, because consumers wanted it on VOD and with a great interface.”

Time Warner (TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes said people still love TV content

“There has never been more interest or vibrancy in television and the relationship that audiences have to it.  It really is the Golden Age.  Great content will carry the day.”

 

 

Source: Variety interview with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes http://variety.com/2016/tv/features/jeff-bewkes-time-warner-merge-1201794546/

IMAX CFO Greg Foster at B Riley Investment Conference 5.25.2016

IMAX CFO Greg Foster highlighted Disney’s unique skill set in creating mega blockbusters which ultimately helps drive their business

“Family oriented movies, especially put out by the folks at Disney, are huge growth drivers for our business.”

Prefers to focus on the bigger movies

“I would rather have 6-7% of Finding Dory than 15% of a movie that doesn’t work.  For instance, we missed the movie Frozen, which did over a billion dollars in gross ticket sales, and that hurt us tremendously.”

Relies on the quality of the movie to drive ticket sales

“We’re still in the hit making movie business.  We live and die by the titles.  We think Finding Dory could be the biggest movie of the year.  We need tent pole movies like that to drive our business.”

Consumers care more about how good the movie is than the specifications of how the movie is shot

“People don’t go see movies because it’s shot in 4K versus 6K.  They go for the overall experience.  They want to know if the movie is good.  They want to know if the characters are compelling.”

Hoping to capitalize on the virtual reality trend

“IMAX virtual reality is an out of home, high end, highly differentiated unique experience.  It’s not just some place to watch trailers.  We want directors creating differentiated content for the platform.”

 

Liberty Media (LMCA) Q1 2016 Earnings

Liberty Media (LMCA) CEO Greg Maffei highlighted good pricing power in their Livenation concerts and advertising business 

“Live Nation, another very solid quarter, strong revenue growth, up 10%. Adjusted operating income growth, up 7% in constant currency in the first quarter and lots of exciting indicators through April. Concert ticket sales pacing 10% ahead, a 13% increase in confirms stadium, arena and amphitheater shows. Contacted online advertising, up 14% and contracted sponsorship, up 10%. So we’re pleased with the operating performance and what’s going on at Live.”

Liberty Media (LMCA) CEO Greg Maffei explained how they take advantage of their own stock if it trades at a discount to net asset value

“I think in general Liberty’s stocks have always traded at a discount somewhere between 2% and 35% if memory holds me since I have been at Liberty. And in general we’ve tried to take advantage of that through share repurchase. There have been other methods, but that’s the primary one. And we really don’t care about them until the day we want to go get realization and obviously some period before we are going to issue stock we would care a lot more about fair value and achieving it other than that realizations. You could think about some kind of a transaction for example where we issued an exchangeable into our SXM stock and bought back LSXM stock, so selling SIRI effectively forward at some number and buying our own stock back. So there are other corporate finance techniques which I’m sure much aggressive investment bankers will be bringing us tons of ideas after this call.”

Looks like they’re positioning themselves to make a deal in the near-term

“I certainly don’t have something we are going to announce this morning on what we intend to spend that money on, but we are looking at a host of opportunities actively, many of which I feel very good about.”

Liberty Media (LMCA) CEO Greg Maffei said his colleague, John Malone, ultimately believes in the US will become a quad play market (landline phone, television, internet, and cell phone combined on one bill and delivered by one company)

“I think first Liberty is informed by our Chairman experienced with Liberty Global and the quad nature of the market in Europe, and certainly John is a firm believer that eventually we will get to a quad market in United States. How that’s done whether that’s through partnership through MVNO, through Wi-Fi First through some larger kind of operation, we’ll see, frankly Charter has been less vocal and focused on that given its desire to get to the process on the regulatory side. So I think we are mindful of what the marketplace is in Europe, we are mindful of how the marketplace is likely to develop in United States and we’ll see where we go from here.”