On the Call: Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes
Last week, Netflix Inc. released its latest original series, "House of Cards," starring Kevin Spacey and produced by David Fincher, the Oscar-nominated director of "The Social Network." It's the latest way Netflix's online video service is challenging HBO and other traditional channels for audiences and attention.
HBO owner Time Warner Inc. was asked about it during Wednesday's conference call to discuss the company's quarterly earnings.
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said he wasn't worried about competition from Netflix, which is also a Time Warner customer in licensing Warner Bros. movies and TV shows for the Netflix service.
"Let's go over and give a little credit to Netflix. They're doing a great job. I think the functionality of their service, some of the really consumer-friendly effectiveness of their search if you're watching it, finding what you want to watch, getting recommendations to go through a very, very deep library. ... The more programs you have on a service, the more important it is to be able to find them.
"But if you talk about original programming, HBO has always operated in a competitive environment. We have been happy to see some of the successes at Showtime and Starz recently in originals. Netflix has a new original that is pretty good, 'House of Cards.' I think that's great. ... It reminds consumers of the choice that they have of television programming on demand. (But) the cycle of making breakthrough original programming and having people find it and use it, which HBO has been doing for 20 years and Netflix is now joining, it takes a while to get that up to scale."