21st Century Fox‘ COO came out swinging against those who say that companies like his — built on the bundled channel pay TV model — are headed for a fall. Chase Carey told analysts today that it’s a “fantasy” to think that a la carte pricing will replace the packages that require subscribers to pay for channels they don’t watch. Nor does he worry about consumer cord cutting. “People will give up food and a roof over their head before they give up television,” he says adding that there’s “no evidence” that lots of pay TV subscribers are beginning to bolt. It’s legitimate to wonder whether young people will never subscribe when they leave their parents’ nests, but that “will play out over the next 10 plus years, not the next three.” He says that there will be some changes, though, as pay TV costs rise. “Weaker channels will and should get squeezed.” Meanwhile distributors should try to build new revenue streams for example from TV Everywhere initiatives. He’s also unfazed by rising sports costs. “It’s the most important content on television, period….It is the content that binds a community.” He defended the rise in costs for regional sports networks, which pay TV distributors say pressures them to raise consumer prices. Carey says that his company’s rates are up less than $1 per subscriber per month. It’s “hard to believe it’s breaking the bank,” he says attributing complaints to “public posturing.” The exec also laid into broadcast streaming service Aereo, calling it “little more than a gimmick and I’m not sure it’s going anywhere.” If the Barry Diller-backed company prevails in court against broadcasters who say that it infringes on their copyrights, then “we will pursue business solutions long term” — taking some broadcast programming off the airwaves — although that’s “not our preference.”
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