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Summary:

Hulu should require viewers to have a cable subscription, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes suggested in an investor call following the company’s Q1 2012 earnings report this morning. “We think Hulu authenticating makes sense,” Bewkes said. “We think Hulu is heading in the right direction now.”

Time Warner Center
photo: Getty Images / Mario Tama

Hulu should require viewers to have a cable subscription, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes suggested in an investor call following the company’s Q1 2012 earnings report this morning.

“We think Hulu authenticating makes sense,” he added. “We think Hulu is heading in the right direction now and it might continue to be viable.”

Bewkes was responding to a question on rumors that Hulu will start requiring users to prove that they have a cable TV subscription before using its service.

HBO Go to more platforms soon

HBO Go is having “a significant positive impact” on Time Warner’s business and 93 percent of users say Go makes them more loyal to HBO, Bewkes said. Consumers using HBO Go are watching HBO more than they used to, Bewkes said, and HBO Go will launch on more platforms soon — it will “become widely accessible on connected TVs.” Microsoft’s Xbox Live added HBO Go in March.

Ultraviolet added 1 million registered users in last four weeks

Bewkes said that UltraViolet, the digital cloud initiative being jointly launched by Hollywood’s major studios — Time Warner’s Warner Bros. division included — is still in its early stages, “but consumers are downloading and streaming in very large numbers,” Bewkes said. “More than 2 million accounts have been created and 5,000 titles are available. [It took five months to gain]the first million registrations, then we added 1 million more in the past 4 weeks.”

Choosing what to stream

“We’re more than happy to work with SVOD [subscription video on demand] companies to license our content,” Bewkes said. “Our overarching goal is simply to maximize the lifetime value of the content.”

He cited CBS sitcom hit “The Big Bang Theory” as a show that is “likely to have multiple cycles” and is “unlikely … to go to SVOD anytime soon. We’re trying to balance the value of the later cycles.”

“For older content that has either gone through several cycles, or for shows that are serialized and work better on a VOD basis … those are the kinds of things you can be more efficient with when you put them on SVOD,” Bewkes said. “Take the CW deal we did as an SVOD sale to Netflix. Those shows had more efficient and higher value in an SVOD service, with a little earlier availability, than we thought we could get in traditional syndicated buy-ins. It really depends on the nature of the programming.”

  1. MagnaCartaHG Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    This is why I got an Over the Air antenna…

    Most of Hulu’s stuff is already free, cheap on DVD, or skippable. And if you really can’t miss the shows, you can record to your PC for a one time fee.

    If I’m a Hulu user, I’m not going to subscribe to cable so I can watch shows that air on network TV. Others might, but your business model shouldn’t be built around selling people things they can get for free…

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    1. What’s the record-to-PC option? I haven’t used that…

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      1. Windows 7 comes with Windows Media Center which you can use to record Over The Air television for free. You just need to install a TV tuner like the HD homerun (expensive but easiest to install). Or an Avermedia A188 duet. Any of these two will give you the ability to record 2 shows at once or 1 show while watching another one live.

        The most important part of the setup is the antenna. I don’t recommend indoor antennas. I would go to Amazon and buy a n small outdoor antenna

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      2. . .for those who live in apartments.

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  2. I agree with MagnaCartaHG. Bag the cable, bag the dish! Go antenna!

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  3. Pat McDermott Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    I guess I don’t have to watch tv at all then?

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  4. This is hilarious. Almost as if they want us all to stop watching their terrible content altogether.

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  5. I don’t even understand the point of Hulu, anymore, if they are going to mandate having a cable package. The main network sites already offer the same service without need of “authenticating”. Just a terrible business model. All I need is an internet connection to access the main network’s site and see whatever shows I want from the past 3-4 weeks. So how would Hulu’s authentication change any of that?

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  6. Time Warner and Comcast want to become nationwide monopolies. They already have local cable monopolies. I guess they want to dictate how content they don’t own is shown. Government should allow open access on cable infrastructure.

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  7. Time warner thinks everybody should pay for everything except them. Trust me I have Time Warner and if they cant make a fortune off of something they wont do it. Thats why we dont get anything at all on xbox live that involves cable, or NFL network or other coutless things. Im so glad im moving so I can switch to something better.

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