The comments from the Time Warner CEO at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference contrast with what we heard here yesterday from cable operators like Time Warner Cable and Charter. They say that consumers can’t afford to keep paying the rising prices for the basic bundle. Bewkes counters that if consumers had the freedom to just subscribe to the channels that they want “you’d end up having to pay more for less.” And for pay TV distributors “it is a growing pot. They have to decide who gets the money and who drives the value.” Obviously, Bewkes believes his company has a strong claim: He says that Time Warner expects to see double digit increase in pay TV affiliate fees from 2013 to 2016, reflecting its channels’ higher ratings and ability to award VOD and TV Everywhere rights. Bewkes acknowledges that expensive sports channels — which face rising costs to buy rights to popular leagues — “may be an issue. I don’t know what will happen with that.” But for now, he says “I think the bundle is going to continue, The utility, power and value of it is going to go up.”
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