“We are not satisfied with the recent ratings and advertising performance at some of the Turner networks,” the Time Warner chief told analysts this morning. There’s been a “significant drop off” at truTV. And at TNT “we didn’t take enough creative risks with its programming” and “lost ground with younger viewers….TNT has been softer than it should have been.” But Jeff Bewkes is ever the optimist: He has “great confidence in truTV” following management changes there. He also vows that TNT “can and will do better” with new programming. “These types of changes take time” but as a large network “TNT has access to all the resources it needs.”
In other news from the call: Time Warner told the Street that cash from HBO’s new streaming deal with Amazon Prime will be used to develop more original programming and to build HBO GO. As a result, while it will contribute to HBO’s Q2 revenues in 2014 and over the next few years, it won’t result in a commensurate increase in profits.
Bewkes also says that Time Warner is talking with Dish Network about its plan to create a low-cost package of pay TV channels to be made available online to individual users. “It could allow us and them to target consumers who might not subscribe to multichannel TV” — especially young adults. But he adds that in these talks, as well as with others who want to create online pay TV services including Verizon and Sony, “there are a fair number of questions about the ad model, quality of service, and how this would affect investment in the plant” for high-quality TV. Put another way, he wants to be sure an online service doesn’t cannibalize his bread-and-butter: pay TV channels sold in the cable and satellite bundles.
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