Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes isn’t dismissing the possibility of a partnership between CNN and a broadcast news operation but he took pains in the Q1 earnings call not to single out CBS (NYSE: CBS) as the likely partner. Bewkes mentioned the new 14-year partnership with CBS Sports for the NCAA Mens Basketball championships and the possibility of working with CBS in other ways — like news. But he reminded analysts that a possible news deal isn’t new.
“We have long been in conversations with all the players” for news partnerships,” Bewkes said. He also urged analysts not to confuse CNN”s financials with its disappointing ratings, explaining that CNN’s general economics are “much better than people realize” and that the financial strength at CNN offers a cost solution to the profit squeeze at network news. Translation: Have a better deal than you think we might get from *CBS*? Call me.
In case you were wondering if Time Warner wants to own a broadcast net, here’s his reply to that question: “We don’t have any need and we don’t have a desire to own a broadcast.”