UBS Media Conference: TWC's Britt Says Carriage Battles Bad for Consumers

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Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt waded into the perennial skirmishes between cable operators and programmers over carriage negotiations, saying that both parties need to be more mindful of consumers when wrestling over the rising cost of content.
Speaking Dec. 8 at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, Britt noted that programmers and carriers have a "symbiotic relationship" and lamented that "people in symbiotic relationships don't get along very well.
He said Time Warner Cable's "Get Tough or Rollover" campaign, in which the company invited consumers to weigh in online on how it should deal with programmers' cost increases, had received some 380,000 visits as of the previous evening and that 95% came down on the "get tough" side.
Britt said that the campaign was meant to educate consumers about where the cost increases were coming from.
Britt noted that the response, particularly in comments that showed consumers want to buy smaller packages of cable programming, demonstrated the soundness of cable's subscription model and its packaging of networks-factors that he believes underscore the demand for a TV Everywhere authentication play.
"Consumers like to buy these products in subscription form and they do like to buy packages," said Britt, adding that he envisioned a world in which a subscription would offer consumers what he called "the four ‘anys'": access to any content on any device, anytime and anyplace.
In that world, he said, "our role is kind of the plumbers...to do the plumbing and make it really easy for you as a consumer."

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