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.”
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.
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.”