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A Conversation with Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes
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A Conversation with Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes

“Digital is good for TV,” said Time Warner Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bewkes at The Nielsen Company’s Consumer 360 conference today. “TV is not only not dead, but it’s one of the fastest growing businesses. Ratings, time spent and viewership are all up.”

In conversation with Nielsen Vice Chair Susan Whiting, Bewkes described television as showing “tremendous vibrancy” and praised the networks as well as the creative community for the high quality of programming. He also explained that the cable networks’ strong brands make it is easier for producers to create and pitch the right shows and for the networks to develop and shape them. Additionally, quality shows that are being created for broadcast television are later finding their way to cable networks.

Viewers all have their favorite networks and shows and thanks to technology, are increasingly able to watch them anytime, anywhere, on a rapidly expanding range of devices.

When asked about Time Warner’s own TV brands, Bewkes said CNN was the top news brand in the world, that the Cartoon Network was number one in Brazil and India, and that HBO was the leader in paid TV everywhere it operates, including Latin America, South East Asia and Europe.

Bewkes does not see advertising going away any time soon but thinks that marketers will add other things on top of traditional 30 and 15 second spots. “People can’t go to the bathroom during the Super Bowl because they don’t want to miss the ads,” he said. He underlined that consumers like good advertising. “If you had a choice between an InStyle magazine with ads and one without, which one would you pick? Most would pick the one with ads.”

Magazines, as opposed to newspapers dealing with commodity news, are greatly enhanced by digital technologies like the iPad, eReaders and tablet computers. They can be personalized, include moving pictures and give the reader the opportunity to go more in-depth on a topic.