In a conference call with analysts today, CEO Jeff Bewkes said Time Warner plans companywide cost cuts and specifically mentioned that its New Line Cinema movie studio is ripe for expense reductions. News reports said Bewkes stated that changes in the film industry leave less purpose for New Line. I reported last month that sources told me New Line co-founders Bob Shaye’s and Michael Lynne’s contracts wouldn’t be renewed by Bewkes and that the studio would either be folded into Warner Bros or sold altogether to someone like Terry Semel. My latest info is that when Bewkes met with the New Line pair to deliver the bad news, the twosome pushed back and told Bewkes they would put together a plan for reorganization that would save the company a lot of money in exchange for a contract extension that leaves them as co-heads of the studio. But Bewkes isn’t interested in that scenario.

bewkes.jpgBewkes also told analysts that he is in ongoing discussions to potentially reduce the media giant’s ownership in Time Warner Cable and plans to separate the declining Internet-access business of its AOL unit as a way to streamline the media giant and revive its stock price. But Bewkes also signaled he will stress pushing Time Warner’s entertainment content onto digital properties. Bewkes said Time Warner — and most in the industry overall — need to be “a bit more revolutionary than evolutionary” in digital initiatives, that all linear TV networks should be available on demand via broadband and TV sets, and that TW will make its own networks available on-demand “aggressively” to “show the industry the benefits.”

For background, see my previous stories:

  1. SOURCES: Terry Semel Looks At New Line
  2. SOURCES: Bob Shaye’s New Line Contract Won’t Be Renewed By TW Boss
  3. Peter Jackson And Bob Shaye Settle; Jackson Will Exec Produce ‘Hobbit’
  4. Another Reason Bob Shaye Should Retire
  5. The Dog Ate New Line’s Balance Sheets…
  6. Bob Shaye’s Mea Culpa Too Little Too Late
  7. It’s Official! Carlisle To New Line
  8. Is This Russell’s New Line Replacement?
  9. Another Reason Why Bob Shaye Is A Prick
  10. Bob Shaye Looks Like Even Bigger Idiot…
  11. Studios To Fight Over Unusual Peter Jackson Pic Deal (But Not New Line)
  12. Bombs Away: Shaye’s ‘Mimzy’ Tracking 0
  13. Peter Jackson Answers Lord Of The Rants