Bewkes: Offer Everything On-Demand

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Washington -- Cable providers should work to offer video-on-demand versions of every TV network available, Time Warner president and chief operating officer Jeff Bewkes said Tuesday.

Combining VOD programming with targeted ads that viewers are interested in would also reduce the demand or need for digital-video recorders, Bewkes told attendees at the opening general session of the CTAM Summit here.

“If you worry about if this is a bunch of B.S., it’s there. HBO is that [all VOD] now. You don’t have to DVR HBO. We should take the whole industry and put it on that basis,” said Bewkes, whose company owns HBO.

One of the biggest challenges in offering VOD programming via the Internet or pay TV systems is figuring out an advertising model that works. Bewkes said consumers would be willing to accept advertising on on-demand programming if providers deliver ads for products that consumers like.

“That [advertising] can be more efficient. It can be targeted. It knows you want fishing gear, etc.,” Bewkes said.

Offering large libraries of free-VOD programming will also reduce the need for pay TV providers to install DVRs in the homes of their subscribers, he added.

“If we as an industry can take all of these networks and put them on-demand for free, [operators] don’t need to go installing and worrying about all of that stuff,” Bewkes said.

Also Tuesday:

• Bewkes said one of the biggest challenges in delivering video content via the Internet is determining the advertising model, including whether ads should run before viewers see the content, or alongside the video.

• While discussing Time Warner’s decision to change the name of Court TV to truTV, Bewkes said the Court TV brand didn’t reflect the investigative and forensic programming that currently draws the most viewers on the network. “The name seemed not to be true to the larger and maybe equally important hearts of the people that we have a relationship with, what they were doing, what they want,” Bewkes said.

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